If you don’t have a Bible available, go to the link on the left side of the page to access an online Bible.
At first I started reading from verse 18, but as usual I needed some context to understand Jesus words better. And in this case, the first verses are His example of the command at the end.
Many of us have read before about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. We recognize it as an example of servant leadership and not being too proud to do things for others. But today I’m noticing things in the text that I hadn’t before. Specifically, that the washing of their feet is Him “showing them the full extent of His love.” (Vs 1) He’s not just showing them how He wants them to behave; He’s showing them how to love each other, which is followed through with the command to love one another in verse 34.
I’ve read this before and thought this was my “get out of evangelism” card because we are commanded to “love one another . . . and by this all will know that you are My disciples” so if we just love our ‘brothers & sisters in Christ’ that’s evangelism too in the sense that others will see that and want what we have. But that is a cop-out! Jesus wants us to love each other so that we can build and nourish each other to go out into our communities and be a light to the nations. This is what our church life is for. Some think the church is for Sunday morning worship – to pay God a 10th of our time by going to church, hearing a message, giving our offering and then we can go home and go on with our lives. Some think the church is to be our whole life – all of our ‘ministry’ efforts are poured into involvement in our church programs and activities and our social and sometimes our work lives are also enmeshed with our ‘brothers & sisters in Christ’. But all over the gospels Jesus is clearly sending us out to preach the word and feed the poor and needy. And now here He wants us to spend our energy on each other too. I’m tired just thinking about it all! But its supposed to nourish us – energize us so that we are on fire when we go into our Mondays. So how does it become energizing instead of exhausting? He did say after washing their feet that they will be blessed if they do these things.
So maybe the love that we have for each other is more of a ‘to be’ verb than a ‘to do’ verb. Notice verse 3-5: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God, so he got up . . .and began to wash His disciples feet.” Jesus was acting from a place of peace and confidence in who He is and where He was going. Washing their feet was a spiritual act, not a practical act. He knew who He was and where He was going and He wanted them to know it too. The God of all glory bending down and washing their feet — that is love! He loved them beyond all measure and He loves us that much too. And if we have confidence in His love and in our eternal life in Him, we want to share it too, with each other and the whole world.
Its like doing this blog. I don’t do it every day, because many days I dread the time I will spend on it and think about how many other things I need to do. It seems impractical. But once I’m into it, I’m just so excited about what I have learned and I want to share it with whoever will read it. And I know that God will bless it and me for doing it, so I don’t worry about the time spent. And just spending the time immersed in His Word is such a blessed state of being. I pray you feel it too.