After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12-17 NRSV)
Years ago as part of the Maundy Thursday worship service, our pastors were going to wash our feet in a humble act of servanthood. They were doing what Jesus told us to do after he washed his disciples’ feet. I really should have seen this as a beautiful example of the way we all should follow his teaching and how we should treat one another.
But I dreaded this. I hate my feet. My toes aren’t straight and my feet are rough from miles of walking. I’m uncomfortable even going barefoot, let alone placing my feet directly under someone’s scrutiny! Before going to worship, I washed, buffed, trimmed and lathered with lotion. I hoped to make my feet at least tolerable for the poor washer.
Later I recognized how I was also trying to keep my image and ego intact.
In his gracious act of washing, Jesus demonstrates mutuality. He calls us to see one another as equals, as companions journeying together in life. Not one of us is better or greater than another. Not one of us is lesser. We learn this through the humility of being a servant- through the washing of one another’s feet. And we learn this through the humility of exposing our flaws and hidden insecurities- through allowing ourselves to be washed clean. Both are uncomfortable. Both will stretch us in ways we would rather not.
In his precious act, Jesus shows us real community. What he has done has made us equals. We love with servant love. Come as you are. Serve as you can. Be real. Be open and honest. Share your flaws. Wash one another clean. We are all in this together. We are on equal ground.
Or could we say, “We are all on equal footing?” 😀
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Do you know what I have done to you?”
Would you rather be the foot washer or the one washed clean? Why? Is there anyone you consider as lesser than you? As better than you? How might you change your perspective? In what ways are you being invited to grow today?
Do you know what I have done to you?