Experience a re-telling of Jesus washing his disciples' feet from the perspective of John. Take a fresh look at Jesus from John 13:1-10.
"James, pass some bread over here. I'm starving…"
"Here, John, try it with the humus. Mary made a nice batch for tonight… Passover special."
"Hmmm… I'm into olives. But, you'll eat it, Jesus, right? You love Mary's humus," I said with a nudge into Jesus' ribs.
"You know me. I love that humus," Jesus replied.
It was the normal banter of a mealtime with friends. Well, this was a special meal… the Passover. In retrospect, people would call it the Last Supper. But, we only knew it as another good meal with Mary's Passover humus. We were all reclining on the floor. Some laying on pillows. Some using a friend's leg as a pillow. Sprawled out on the ground with food in the middle, life was as it should be. And I was where I always was - next to Jesus.
Jesus shifted his weight to get up, and I fell backwards. He moved over quietly to the door. There stood the pitcher of water and bowl that no one had touched as we rushed into the room earlier. Some of us noticed what he was doing, but most were oblivious. He stood there by the door and took off his long coat. And then, to our utter surprise, he wrapped a towel around his waist. What was he doing?
Jesus slowly poured water into the bowl. Maybe his feet felt very dirty. Maybe they stunk. None of us actually had washed our feet before supper. So, to be honest, there was the scent of feet and Mary's humus filling the air in that room. A couple of us got up with a symbolic motion to help Jesus with his feet. But, he moved towards us with the bowl of water in hand.
"Hey Matthew, give me your feet," Jesus said quietly as he stood behind Matthew's large, reclining frame. Matthew turned in surprise and slowly stuck out his grimy feet. Jesus got on his knees, took off Matthew's sandals and began pouring water over them. With great care, Jesus put his fingers in between the toes, rubbed the tops and bottoms of Matthew's feet - washing all the dirt away. The rest of us sat there motionless and speechless.
As friends we didn't concern ourselves with washing feet when we gathered to eat supper. And it didn't cross our minds that we should have washed Jesus' feet. After all, he was our teacher, the miracle worker, the Messiah… but he was also our friend. Now, in this most awkward situation, we were all recognizing our obvious miss. We were the ones who should be washing His feet.
But, Jesus continued. One by one, he knelt before us washing our smelly feet. When he came to Peter, it was one of those already awkward moments that Peter made worse. He tended to do that. Peter said what we were all thinking.
"No, Lord, don't wash my feet. It's not right."
"I must wash you, Peter, otherwise you have no part with me," Jesus directly replied.
"Ok, so wash all of me, not just my feet," came the quick response from Peter. Oh Peter, often trying to wrestle for control - even with his own cleansing.
"I'm just going to wash your feet, Peter. Will you let me?"
And so Jesus continued his work until all of our feet were washed. He took on the role of the lowest servant. He got his hands dirty. Later, as I reflected on what was in store for Jesus on that night… on the pain and suffering he knew was coming, I was again overcome by emotion. For the Lamb of God that was about to be sacrificed was sacrificing his title, his energy and dignity by washing our feet. Jesus actually lived a life of sacrifice that culminated in the cross.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.