September 12, 2016

John 13:1-17

Last things are important. As Jesus and the disciples shared the Passover meal, the disciples didn’t realize it was the last time they would celebrate with him this side of eternity. Everything Jesus had taught led them to this moment. And what did Jesus do? Did he expound upon doctrines essential to the faith or to explain the mysteries of God himself? No. At this all-important last moment, Jesus taught his disciples to serve. I picture Jesus silently getting up from the meal, putting the towel around his waist, and pouring the water in the basin. So silently, in fact, that as Jesus begins to wash his disciples’ feet, their faces can’t hide the shock. I picture them looking at each other trying to decide what to say or if they should say anything at all. And then Peter saying what everyone was thinking: “What are you doing, Jesus? Are you going to wash my feet?!”

Foot washing ceremonies aren’t an ordinance for us as Baptists and aren’t usually a part of our tradition. One Easter, however, a church I served had a foot washing ceremony as a part of its Holy Week services. As long as I live, I will never forget that service. Before we washed each other’s feet, my part of the service was to give a Call to Service. As I closed out my time, I could hardly speak through the tears as I looked into the faces of some of God’s choicest servants—those who had cared for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, others who had given so that people they would never meet across the world could have clean drinking water, mothers who had gotten up in the middle of the night to care for their children … the list went on. They knew how to wash feet. They were skilled in the discipline of service. What about you? Have you taken Jesus’ last words to heart? Whose "feet" have you “washed” lately?