John 13: 1-17, 31b-35
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off the outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and head as well!”
Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet. 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 a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I will tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men shall know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Upon arriving at someone’s home, the washing of feet was a job of the owner’s servant to show hospitality to his guests. This is one of the last lessons that Jesus teaches his disciples, but it is one of the most important. The night before his death on the cross Jesus, the Son of God, humbles himself to the lowly job of a servant to wash the feet of all (this would include Judas, the one that betrays him) of his disciples. Jesus then explains that as disciples, we should serve one another in love. When we love others in the same manner that Christ loved us, all men will recognize that we belong to him. This reminds me of another scripture (Luke 6:27,28) when Jesus told us to love our enemies. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” I have heard it said that the way we treat the one we care the least about is the same way that we treat God.
Father forgive us for not loving others in the same manner that you love us. Humble us to where we will be your servant to others, working in your love. Awaken us by the power of the Holy Spirit to be your disciples and to bring others into your kingdom of righteousness that was made possible by your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.