Apr6MonApril 6, 2020
John 13:1-5 (ESV)
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
WHAT LOVE REQUIRES
According to the laws and traditions of Judaism, families were encouraged to travel to Jerusalem during each of the three, annual religious festivals. The Feast of the Passover was one of them. This feast marked the historic night when the blood of the sacrificial lamb protected the tribes of Israel during the tenth plague upon Egypt. The tribes were then set free from the enslavement of Pharaoh by the visible manifestation of the Lord’s presence. Such a momentous event required a yearly celebration of eating, drinking and retelling. That moment of festivities had arrived once again.
Jesus instructed Peter and John to find a pre-ordained ‘upper room’ in which they would celebrate the Passover as nightfall arrived. Once the room was found and the arrangements were made, Jesus reclined at the table with his twelve disciples for what would be the last time. Before repurposing this meal to be a symbolic representation of his body and blood, Jesus showed them what love is. He began to wash his disciples’ feet.
Now the washing of weary, soiled feet was commonly assigned to the servant of the house. But here, in the upper room, Jesus the Messiah, God in the flesh, assumed that role. “I have given you an example,” he said. It was a powerful illustration of servant-led love.
Later, as they journeyed to the Mount of Olives, Jesus continued the lesson. “You should love one another just as I have loved you. By this all people will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35). Now, Jesus’ ultimate example of love would come as he journeyed to the cross and willingly gave up His spirit for the sins of many. But only he was qualified to be the sacrificial lamb.
For us, his disciples, assuming the role of a servant among friends, family, church and community is what love requires. It is one of the best ways to be a distinct witness for the Lord.
May our attitude and actions reflect Jesus, the Lamb of God, who set aside his garment and his glory in order to wash his disciples’ feet. Amen!