I was sitting in my car having my quiet time just before my first meeting of the day. (Because sometimes my quiet times happen... on the go!) I was reading John 13, and thinking about the call to love and serve others.
John 13 always challenges me. In the passage, the Cross is quickly approaching on the Kingdom calendar, and every word and action of Jesus comes with an exclamation mark! Usually, when we talk about this familiar passage, we focus on Jesus washing the disciples feet or Peter's attempt to stop Jesus from washing his feet. Often the take away is a strong reminder to simply love and serve others. No doubt, this passage paints a picture of how we should live. Jesus sums it up best in John 13:15-17, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, 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." (New International Version)
As I poured over this passage, something jumped off the page at me. It was all the things that Jesus KNEW before He washed the disciples feet.
1. Jesus KNEW the time had come for Him to leave the world and go the Father. (vs. 1)
2. Jesus KNEW the Father had put all things under His power. (vs. 3)
3. Jesus KNEW that He had come from God. (vs. 3)
4. Jesus KNEW that He was returning to God. (vs. 3)
It was from the knowledge of these things that Jesus got up from the table, wrapped a cloth around His waist, and washed feet. There is something so powerful about this concept! Our love and service should be fueled by the knowledge of God, and rooted in our relationship with God. As a result, our actions become an overflow of God's work in our lives. Not only that, our actions fall in line with God's Kingdom calendar and tell the story of redemption.
As I sat in my car, the passage came to life. If we are really going to love and serve others, we have to be radically changed by the love and grace of God. Like Jesus, we have to KNOW the plan of God, we have to KNOW the power of God, we have to KNOW where we came from (salvation) and where we are going (glorification). When we do, we will KNOW how to live (sanctification) each day, just like Jesus.
So how do we wash feet? I'm glad you asked! The simple answer is to daily recognize that washing feet is more than an action. It is a lifestyle fueled by the knowledge of Who God is, and how He works in and through our lives. When we understand this deep concept, we meet tangible needs with God's power. This helps us to move past simply giving someone "a cup of cold water" in Jesus' Name. Instead, we begin to respond to the plan of God as He tell us to "go" and "do" for His glory. The full extent of God's love will be put on display as our lives tell the story of Jesus... only Jesus!