John 13:8-9, “‘No,” said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!'”
It was the night of Jesus’ arrest. Satan had already prompted Judas to betray Him. Jesus knew His time on earth was coming to an end; yet, He must have felt there was so much more to teach them. Jesus wrapped a towel around His waist and knelt at the foot of each disciple. Lovingly, He washed their feet and dried them with the towel that was wrapped around His waist.
Understandably, Peter protested. Can you imagine if Jesus knelt at your feet and washed them? But, Jesus insisted and demonstrated to the disciples in a very genuine, heartfelt manner the act of humility.
I often wonder why one of the disciples didn’t wash Jesus’ feet in return. Did any of them offer to help Him wash the dirty feet of the 11 disciples? “I’ll take these 5, Master!” There is no indication that they did. It reads as if they watched Him wash 22 feet and dry them. Feet covered in all that could possibly be stepped in on the streets – from dirt to animal wastes.
In the church I am privileged to serve, during Holy Week, our artistic team reenacted the Crucifixion of Christ. Our church sits on land next to a busy highway. Several men from our church hung on three crosses depicting Christ and the two thieves. The image was overwhelming at times. It was no easy task for them either as they stood on tiny blocks of wood and held onto handles on each side. In the rain and cold, our team worked to honor Christ in this illustration of His sacrifice for us.
As I watched the Crucifixion unfold, I noticed the people behind the scenes – the ones who silently worked; putting on the make-up; preparing the grounds; and making sure the day was Holy for our Lord. I thought of Christ. I thought of Him in the Upper Room, washing the feet of the disciples, teaching them what it meant to be a servant.
Cars stopped to watch. Some people knelt and prayed. Some people watched from the parking lot. There were those who wept and some who took pictures. Words were not spoken. Most people were lost in thought.
Jesus came to teach us to serve. It isn’t a lesson any of us can learn overnight. Being a servant of others isn’t easy. As I watched our artistic team in action, my heart was filled with Peter’s words, “…not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” When we serve others, we cover them with the love of Christ, from the bottom of their feet to the top of their head. We show them what it is like to be loved by our God, and we demonstrate that love in a humble way.