Thanks to my German background I tend to be a little too stoic sometimes. To lighten me up my husband Bill likes to crack a joke, and he also has silly little rhymes that he throws at me from time to time. Here is one of them:
“Smell my feet, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!”
Well, why would I want to smell his feet? Funny that I ask since this is completely beside the point, right? Speaking of feet – Jesus took a good look at His disciples’ feet on the night before the Passover Festival. On a very sobering note, He already knew it would be His last. The cards were stacked against Him. He was going to be unjustly accused and handed over to the Roman authorities to die a tortuous death. Unfortunately, He still had to break the bad news to His disciples. So, what did He do? During dinner Jesus got up from the meal and one by one began to wash His disciples’ feet, which caused quite a stir. Simon Peter flatout refused to let his Master wash his feet, but Jesus told him in no uncertain terms (John 13:8):
“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
After drying their feet, Jesus sat down with His disciples and delved into a deep conversation. His students had followed their Rabbi for three years, and now they were about to lead others in a brand-new movement that would shake the fabrics of human society. How would that be possible without Jesus by their side? The answer is partially found in Jesus’ conspicuous activities throughout the Last Supper. I believe washing the disciples’ feet actually set the tone of their later dinner conversation. Jesus demonstrated that love finds its outlet in servanthood.
Fast forward to today – this is how the story of salvation has been passed on from generation to generation: Getting our hands dirty and our feet dusty, the gospel of Jesus Christ meanwhile has proceeded all around the globe.
Serving, by the way, is not a very sanitary activity. Blood, sweat and tears are part of the equation simply because life is messy and so are relationships. The highlight of our day would be handing over our dirty feet to the Lord right after our work is done. He’ll gladly minister to us. Probably one of the reasons why some of us wake up one morning and feel completely burnt out – we might have forgotten the very best part of serving: letting Jesus wash off the grime and slime of the day. Thankfully, that’s how we also grow closer to Him.
Unless we want to turn sour, we let Jesus wash our feet. It is amazing how good this makes us feel – and most importantly, this is how we get to remain in His love.