John the 13th chapter, shows our Lord and savior interacting with His disciples at the Passover Meal. This meal, would be there last Passover Meal, and also last gathering as the 12 and Jesus before the Cross. After this meal, He will be kissed and betrayed, accused and beaten, convicted and crucified, and buried in a tomb! (Of course, that’s not where the story ends).
Jesus is getting ready to leave His earthly ministry to return to His heavenly position! He realizes that He is His moments left with His disciples were few, and thus He positions Himself to teach them one lat lesson, that sums up His mission on earth. They had seen Him as a Teacher, known Him as a Friend, Honored Him as their Rabi but needed to experience him the Master as Servant. God wanted to leave for the disciples a legacy that would further the Kingdom and reflect His true nature. He was not only a teacher preacher and pastor! What brought Him to earth was His calling to Serve through Death on a Cross.
So he mirrored in the Last Supper what He did Spiritually! “Jesus knew that the father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.” V 3-4
First he took of immortality and put on mortality. We see this mirrored in the passage as He came down from position of Master and Rabbi, and put on the covering of a lowly servant. God, in humility, placed himself in a position to serve the creation that should have been serving Him. He left his throne to experience being His creation. Making Himself the perfect sacrifice to restore the relationship between God and Man. In this, God show us that we must be willing to put aside our titles, place aside our accomplishments, look past our accolades and serve each other.
Furthermore, He “poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.” V 5-8 He was willing to work! The scripture lets us know in verse 4, “he got up”. Not only did He get up, He god up and tied the towel around his waist and then poured the water into the washbasin. He prepared himself to serve. He could have washed their feet in His robe, but He wanted them to see the visible image of himself serving in humility, not leaning upon titles or credentials. See, He knew that the robe did not make him the Messiah, His calling did! We need people that are willing to work! We have to many sitting at the table eating, but too few that will wash the feet of others. Cleaning people takes a sacrifice. Is requires one to address the sin, filth and shame of the one who has accumulated dirt on their journey, and to cleanse them where they are. We want people to wash their own feet, but it is the job of the host to clean the feet, being hospitable and caring towards the one in need.
We must fight the culture of the collection plate. Now, we must pay our tithes and give an offering, but we must understand that some jobs require us and not our money! Too many of us throw money at problems, when our service is the solution! God is asking us to roll up our sleeves and to sweat, not to solicit workers to do the job He assigned to you!
After serving, the parallel continues as He places on His robe returns to the Father! He had completed His mission. He made the sacrifice, and now our sins are forgiven. He returns to His throne to sit on the Fathers right hand to be our covering and righteousness. But leaves for us the lasting impression of His act of service. That being, “you ought to wash one another’s feet.” V. 14 See, God knew that though clean, on this faith journey, a part of our flesh would always be exposed.
Though we are covered in righteousness, we will all sin, and will need to be restored. In heaven, God requires us to repent, and in that, forgiveness is applied via the Blood covenant. But on earth, God knew that our relationship would need more than the Blood to stay harmonious. God wanted us to see the importance of forgiveness and restoration from His very hands. Despite His example, many of us find ourselves condemning our brothers. We find ourselves casting aside God’s children. We sever ties from those who have offended us and or committed offenses against Christ.
We must see in this that Jesus washed all 12 Disciples feet; including Judas! He addressed this fact in V.11 when He told Peter, “…not everyone of you…” referring to being cleaned. Thus, if Jesus is willing to wash the feet of Judas, we are expected to do nothing less than the example He provided for us to reach.