I was sitting in my car having my quiet time before my first meeting of the day. (Because sometimes my quiet times happen… on the go!) I was reading John 13 and thinking about the call to love and serve others. What does that call look like for me as a follower of Jesus, wife, mom, ministry leader, friend, sister, and daughter? John 13 always challenges me! It gets in my business and pushes me to invite the Holy Spirit to check my motives and actions, especially in the areas where I influence and lead others.
Usually, when we talk about John 13, we focus on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet or Peter’s attempt to stop Jesus from washing his feet. Often the takeaway is a strong reminder to love and serve others, just like Jesus. No doubt, this passage paints a picture of how we should live. Jesus sums it up best in John 13:15-17, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (NIV)
As I pored over this passage, something else caught my attention. It was all the things that John recorded that Jesus KNEW before He washed the disciple’s feet. Think about it with me.
1. Jesus KNEW the time had come for Him to leave the world and go to the Father. (vs. 1)
2. Jesus KNEW the Father had put all things under His power. (vs. 3)
3. Jesus KNEW that He had come from God. (vs. 3)
4. Jesus KNEW that He was returning to God. (vs. 3)
Jesus is God, and He is our perfect example of how to live, lead, and serve. As I was thinking about all the things Jesus knew, I was challenged in my daily walk with God. What do I know about God, and how does it impact my thoughts, actions, and reactions? There is something powerful about this concept. Our love and service should be fueled by our knowledge of God and rooted in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As a result, our actions become an overflow of Jesus’s work in and through our lives.
As I sat in my car, the passage came to life. If we are really going to love and serve others, we have to be radically changed by the love and grace of God. Like Jesus, we have to KNOW the plan of God, we have to KNOW the power of God, we have to KNOW where we came from (salvation) and where we are going (glorification). When we do, we will KNOW how to live (sanctification) each day, just like Jesus.
So how do we wash feet? I’m glad you asked! The simple answer is to daily recognize that washing feet is more than an action on our never-ending checklist. It is a lifestyle fueled by knowing, loving, and spending time with Jesus. As we spend time with Him, our hearts are prompted to meet real needs with real love. The full extent of God’s love is put on display as our lives tell the story of Jesus… only Jesus!