John, sitting by his fire on Patmos, was recalling the high points of the week before Jesus was to surrender to His death. Unlike the synoptic writers, John was embracing and reporting those events that captured the true humanity of the Savior.
The apostles and Jesus were having a family moment. They gathered to remember the deliverance of Israel and to break from the craziness of their week in Jerusalem. The apostles had no idea what was going on in the heart and mind of the Messiah! Jesus was shuffling through the final mental index cards and paternal emotions to assure Himself that He had successfully completed the ministry and education necessary to release these men into the world-changing season called the “Church Age”.
Suddenly, Jesus stands up, strips down, and begins the ritual of washing these men’s feet. It was as if the greatest Rabbi and teacher of all time saved the best lesson for last. John highlights Peter’s reaction of shock and embarrassment. He probably remembered Peter’s response because Peter was infamous for speaking his mind.
This lesson would stay implanted in these men and spread to the hearts of all committed to a life of following Jesus. Simply put, there is no act of service too menial to perform as a leader and teacher. Further, true leaders are not scratching their way to the top. Rather, they are wholly and completely focused on the mission and the care of their people.
If we could grasp that most critical lesson, then we would realize that Jesus did, in fact, save the best for last. Jesus had absolutely nothing left to prove and nothing left to lose. So, He chooses to drive home this point – highest and best leadership is found in a leader’s willingness to serve those under him.
Whether we are leading a few or leading an army, we are called to lead humbly. In doing so, we are in no way diminishing our credibility or our authority; we are simply conforming to the image of our Lord and Savior.
God Bless You
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them [a]to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
5 Then He *poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8 Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and [b]you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”