Lent: The Final Week

This devotional is written by Matt. EKM- Everybody knows Matt. 

John 13:1-17

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."

Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

10 Jesus answered, "Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." (8)

Peter's world is structured by domination, power, and hierarchy. Foot washing revealed the societal pecking order. It was usually done by slaves, children, and women, those who had no standing in society.

Our world is not so different from Peter's.

But this night is different. Once again Jesus breaks the rules and realigns the social order. He pours water into a basin, and begins to wash the disciples' feet.

So why is Peter so distressed?

Perhaps because Peter knows that servants wash the feet of their master.

Masters do not wash the feet of their servants.

Teachers do not sit at the feet of their students.

The Messiah certainly does not touch the feet of disciples.

But also, perhaps, Peter is wondering, "If this is how the Messiah acts, what will be expected of me? Whose feet might I be asked to wash for the love of Christ?"

Jesus has an answer for this question: Everyone's!

"You also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." (14-15).

Jesus has set before us an example of love. He has washed away the old ways of domination and hierarchy. He has replaced them with unity and love. No feet are excluded. No feet too unworthy of being washed. Even Judas's (11).

Young, old, tired, lost, angry, hurt feet. Feet that have walked through the muck of life. Feet that have trespassed into places they shouldn't have gone. Feet that have stood on holy ground. Feet that have carried the message of good news. Feet that dance to a different beat or walk a path different from ours.

Those are the very feet Jesus washed.

They are the ones he commands us to wash.

Feet a lot like ours.

Today, serve Christ by serving others. In these strange times, you can serve others by staying at home, or phoning someone you know is living alone or giving to a local Food Bank. You're not just a spectator but a participant of Jesus' subversive life of love, humility, and service.

How will you serve others today?

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