Simply the Bible Blog

Daily Devotion and Podcast

Holy Week–Day 5

There were three major events on Thursday: 1) The Passover meal and conference with the disciples; 2) Christ’s agonizing prayer in Gethsemane; 3) His betrayal and arrest. I would like to look at something Jesus did while with His disciples in the upper room.


I suppose I am choosing this moment because it is the most personally challenging to me.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:2–5, NKJV)

While Judas was preparing to betray Jesus, Jesus was preparing to wash the feet of His disciples. What a beautiful picture of the servitude of Christ, who came not to be served but to serve others. The duty of washing the dusty and dirty feet of the guests who came over for dinner was given to the lowest servant in the house. It is interesting that immediately before this the disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27).

John tells us that Jesus knew His Father had placed all things into His hands. He knew where He came from, and He knew where He was going. He had nothing to prove. He had no insecurities about who He was. I find that those who truly know themselves and who they are before God are the most free to serve others.

Jesus laid aside His garments. This reminds me of how He emptied Himself of His Godhood to become a man and take the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-7).

In this wonderful expression of love, humility and gentleness, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples one-by-one.

Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:6–9, NKJV)

Peter objected. He didn’t feel it was appropriate for Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus was the Master, not the servant. I have observed that people who consider themselves spiritual leaders sometimes have difficulty receiving from others. But we must each be free to give and receive as the situation requires. And we must all submit to the ministry of Christ. How often He must cleanse us of the pollution we acquire just walking in this world. Peter, true to form, went from one extreme to the other. “Then wash my hands and head!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” (John 13:10–11, NKJV)

This tells us that Jesus even washed the feet of Judas, knowing what he was about to do.

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12–17, NKJV)

Ah yes! That’s the trouble. It’s one thing to have a discussion about the beauty and righteousness of serving one another. It something else to get on your knees, roll up your sleeves, and wash someone’s dirty, stinky feet! What is Jesus telling us? That whatever the need your brother or sister has–no matter how lowly or undesirable–if it is a legitimate need, and you are able to serve, then do it. Don’t wait for someone else; don’t say, “That’s not my gift;” don’t put it off. But if we will lay aside our pride and “dignity” and humble ourselves to serve in an attitude of meekness and love, then we will be truly blessed, for we will be walking in the steps of our Lord and Teacher.

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