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  • Writer's pictureChristy Schuette

Dirty Feet

May 23


I Samuel 20-21

Psalm 64:7-10

Proverbs 14:13-14

John 13


Dirty Feet

 

“So, He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.  Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.”  John 13:4-5 HCSB

 

In biblical times, people walked everywhere on dusty, dirty roads and they wore sandals.  This necessitated washing their feet whenever they entered a home.  Typically, they would wash their own feet, but the wealthy had servants who performed this act.   This was a chore that was reserved for the lowliest of servants.  Luke tells us in his gospel that earlier in the evening Jesus had heard the disciples arguing about who was the greatest among them.  The idea of humbling themselves to wash someone’s feet would have probably never occurred to them.  They were shocked when Jesus kneeled before them and gently, lovingly washed their feet.  Even after being with Jesus for three years, they still thought that Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom and they wanted to be His cabinet.  In this act of humble service, Jesus was once again trying to make them understand that His kingdom was very different.  The last would be first, the least would be the greatest, the humble would be exalted and the proud would be humbled.  His time was running out, so He needed them to understand the importance of humility and service. He decided to give them an object lesson.  The Creator of the universe, the Son of God, the Messiah Himself, knelt before them, took their dirty feet in His hands, and cleansed them.  This was a foreshadowing of His death on the cross that would cleanse them of their sin. 

 

It is significant that Jesus washed Judas’ feet along with the rest of the disciples.   He knew what Judas was going to do later that night and yet He washed the dirt off his feet, too.  “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead, He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) Jesus was willing to humble Himself to give Judas one last chance to repent and follow Him.   Judas did not take advantage of that opportunity.  The other disciples didn’t really understand what Jesus was trying to teach them that night, but it is evident following His death, burial, and resurrection that they figured it out.  The early church, led by these men, was characterized by service and generosity.    Their sacrificial love for each other and their commitment to serving others created an environment where the gospel was spread around the world.  Throughout the centuries, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the body of believers is found in Philippians 2:3-4.  “In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” (NIV) Following Jesus’ footsteps and serving others is the greatest privilege we can have. 

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