It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’

Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’

‘No,’ said Peter, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’

Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.’

‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’

Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not every one was clean. When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ He asked them. ‘You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, 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.’” John 13:1-17

        Some occurrences, no matter how insignificant they many seem at the time, stay in our minds for our entire life. These might be emotionally painful, pleasantly joyous, or thought provokingly silly but the action lingers long. For me, one of these events took place nightly during my last month of pregnancy, both in 1969 and 1970. My mom who was also my very best friend came to my house every night to wash my feet. Her “greatest fear” was my going to the hospital to give birth with dirty feet and I certainly couldn’t reach them since my children weighed 10lbs 6oz and 9lbs 11oz” respectively. She always told me that my paternal grandmother had done the same for her, every night during her last month and my Mom had six kids!!

        Foot washing was a common service in Bible days but it was a very lowly job; one assigned to the least important worker in the house. It was the polite thing to do, a way to welcome and refresh your guests. The common mode of travel in those days was walking and most people wore sandals if any footwear at all. Upon arrival, one’s feet were hot, tired, sweaty, and dirty; any host would, at the very least, provide water for this washing. As Jesus, His apostles, and the disciples were coming into the upper room for a feast of celebration, they would have expected to clean their feet in some way.

        Yet, when they saw Jesus, who was serving as the host of the meal, preparing to wash their feet they were shocked!! As Jesus slowly progressed around the room, no one seemed to question His actions until He got to Peter. Always the outspoken apostle, Peter spoke up. Jesus, in His manner that became more and more prevalent as Calvary neared, answered Peter with a vague statement; words that would make him think now and ponder later. By washing their feet, Jesus was displaying the equity among them. Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, the Son of Man, their Teacher, and their Lord but, He was willing to do or give anything, even the most menial task, to show His love for them. He said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Little did they realize that ~within hours~ Jesus would lay down His life in obedience to His Father.

“I often take my burdens and lay them at His feet,

along with the stubbornness that caused me to carry them alone.

I know He wants to share the load, to offer peace so sweet,

yet, I trust myself to bear the weight of each earthly stick and stone.

He softly whispers, “Why, my child,

have you not known My love?

Have you not seen My miracles,

felt blessings from above?

You’re not alone,

I’m always near,

Your feet I’ll wash,

I’ll wipe each tear

but you must hand each trial to Me

with faith ~ then I will set you free!!”


Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

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