Join us this week as we look toward the cross and the empty tomb– Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our posts this week will follow some of the events leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as well as explore what these events and their implications mean to us. It all points to Jesus. In the midst of a week of loud praises, table tossing, healings, boisterous discussions, and the upcoming tumultuous events of Jesus' arrest, trial, flogging, and execution, we get a glimpse of some quiet moments Jesus has with his disciples in an upper room of a Jerusalem home.
John 13 tells the story of the Last Supper, Jesus' final Passover meal with his closest followers and friends. During this Jewish ritual meal that symbolized deliverance, redemption, and sacrifice, the true Passover Lamb-- Jesus-- prepared for the deliverance and redemption He would usher in with His own sacrifice. A day seeped in tradition was turned upside-down when Jesus gave the disciples one of the greatest shocks of their time together: He wrapped a towel around His waist, took the water basin in hand, and began washing the grime-covered feet of His followers.
It was the job of the lowest servants-- scrubbing stinking, dirty feet in a day before ankle socks or tennis shoes or concrete sidewalks. And OUR GOD did it. The king of the universe knelt before fishermen and tax collectors and gently washed their feet while they squirmed in humiliation.
What did this mean?
Jesus said, "A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." He was giving them an example for how they were to serve others (with His help of course) once He was no longer physically with them to show them every move.
This was probably a hard pill for the disciples to swallow, as they had just been arguing about who was the greatest among them. If Jesus-- clearly the greatest-- served in the lowliest position, they must do the same.
But that was not all Jesus said in these precious moments. When Peter objected to Jesus washing his feet, Jesus told him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” This statement and its context speaks to our response to a Servant-God. A God who is with us.
You see, the key to following Jesus’ example of service in this passage is accepting His act of service in the first place. He served us all in His death on the cross. This is how we are washed, cleansed, served, and allowed to be part of God’s kingdom. If we do not accept Jesus’ humanity, divinity. death, and resurrection, we are not His own.
The disciples likely didn't understand this yet, but they would. And all except Judas would go on to accept that sacrifice and let it wash over them and change their lives.
We face the same decision: do we accept Jesus' servitude and His authority, His sacrifice and His victory? Do we accept Jesus as God with us?