John 13:12-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[a] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Maundy Thursday is the day that we commemorate the last supper. It typically is a somber and thought provoking service. Communion is a way that we continue to take time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus endured for each of us.
Another important aspect of this last supper commemoration is Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. This is to remind us that each of us need to humble ourselves and serve others.
I have experienced foot washing at various Christian services and it is still a symbol that brings great humility. Take a moment and picture the last supper. Jesus and his disciples were lounging around a table eating a meal together and sharing fellowship. These men spend many hours and miles walking through deserts and villages. Their feet must get completely dirty. It is not as if they wore socks and shoes. Here their beloved teacher takes some warm water with a towel and kneels next to one of them.
I imagine the whole room became quiet. This show of love and humility by Jesus must have not only been awe inspiring, but intimidating as well. How would you feel if you had an esteemed colleague just decide to wash your feet. I know for me I would wonder if my feet stunk, were my nails presentable…just to name a few worries. I would feel so vulnerable.
Let’s go back to the Last Supper. Jesus took the time to go to each of his disciples and wash their feet. He did not judge them by the condition of their feet or even by the knowledge he had that this disciple would betray him and this disciple would deny him. He simply, but oh so powerfully displayed a servant’s heart by washing each disciple’s feet.
So many of you are probably wondering what my take away is from this scene. How many times have we felt excluded, rejected, betrayed and so many other negative emotions brought out by the church judging our disability. What if we take the approach of Jesus and take time to love on our church family who is hurting us. Instead of taking out our frustration let’s turn the situation around and show abundant humility and love.
This passion week take some time to pray for those you especially feel rejected by in the church and ask God to show you ways that you can serve them. Foot washing may not be appropriate, but certainly there are many other ways to reach out. I remember I had some real issues with an older in my church constantly pointing out to me that I needed to repent That my disabilities were due to the sin in my life. I tried ignoring him…I tried getting into an academic debate with him…Well, I eventually started taking five minutes every time I saw him to ask about his family and ministry. He simply glowed talking about the important people and passions in his life. Eventually after only a few chats, he started asking me about important topics to me. Well about a year after this he came to me and apologized for his misunderstanding of disabilities and sin. He appreciated our talks and how I always made time for him. I praised God for this turn around. I realized that I needed to look past his sin comments and start asking about him. This showed his worth to me and God was glorified.
Is there a person that you can wash their feet either symbolica lcounseled through this rejection I have advised them that even just starting with praying for that person is a huge step in showing love and humility.
It is my prayer that during Holy week and especially as we prepare for Maundy Thursday that you with the help of the Holy Spirit find ways to reach out to people around you and wash their feet. Also, allow someone to wash your feet