After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Let’s try to picture, if we can, the scene in that room. The Son of God stooped down at 12 men’s dirty feet, took each one in His hands, scrubbed off all the dirt, and wiped them dry. It is a humbling picture of servanthood, of taking the lowest place ourselves and doing for others instead. It is a challenging example of serving instead of being served.
At their feet, Jesus became intimately acquainted with the dirt His disciples had accumulated. Hours later, on the cross, He would become intimately acquainted with the sins of all mankind, for He bore them all, felt their full weight and heaviness, experienced their true darkness. But Jesus was not just an obedient servant to His Father, He is also a Savior. As humbling as it was for Him to wash a man’s feet, how much more humbling it is for us to admit that we need Jesus to wash our feet. How much pride we have to break through to get to that point where we realize we need Him for everything and can do nothing on our own to solve our biggest problem.
Even after we’re saved, our feet get dirty. We mess up and say the wrong thing. We think inappropriate thoughts. We have bad attitudes. We harbor bitterness in our hearts. We are disobedient. We are lazy. We are unkind. We lie. We fall short every day, despite our best efforts and intentions. And we say to ourselves, “Well, if I just go to God…” “If I confess…” “If I give it to the Lord…” Yes, we must go to God, we must confess, we must acknowledge our sin, but it is not our act of going that grants us forgiveness. It is Jesus who is there, waiting with His basin and His towel to cleanse us again and again. It is His finished work, His mercy, His love that forgives our sin.
Let’s allow it to sink in just how much we mean to God and the lengths He is willing to go to for us. Let’s imagine Jesus kneeling at the feet of Judas Iscariot and realize the depth of His love for all mankind. Let’s see Him there in that one gentle, humble act and allow what we see there to change us and how we behave. Let’s not take advantage of His kindness with a flippant attitude toward the sin in our lives. Let’s not take His forgiveness for granted by walking to that edge just knowing we can ask for forgiveness after we sin. Instead let’s consciously prepare ourselves each day for the battle we’ll face. Let’s spend time in prayer and in God’s Word and rely on His strength to guide our path, to avoid whatever sin we can in the first place.
Let’s remember that Jesus washes our feet when we come to Him at the end of our day and ask Him to forgive our sins. He knows where we’ve gone and what we’ve done. He sees the dirt we picked up from the choices we made. He knows that we will fall. But He is always there for us, with His endless grace, to forgive and cleanse and restore. What a sweet Savior we have. What a gracious Master we can serve.