Someone asked me recently what Jesus was trying to teach His Disciples when He washed their feet at the Last Supper. Throughout the years I have heard many teachers and pastors addressing this matter and they usually all concur that Jesus wanted to teach them humility and servanthood. I agree, but believe we can have a better understanding of it if we take other things into consideration.
To begin with, foot washing was common in those days and was the responsibility of a designated servant, usually the youngest or the lowest in rank. In homes with no servants it was customarily done by the youngest members of the family. As was the case when Jesus met with His Disciples at the Last Supper, whenever a group of people were going to have a meal, everyone would recline in a circle around the area of the table. Because of it, most everybody’s feet would be exposed, sometimes right next to someone’s face. There were no Nikes back then nor covered footwear, just sandals. That meant that when people came into the house, their feet had to be washed. Since no servants were present when Jesus met with His Disciples that night, one of them would have to do it. To be fair with Jesus’ Disciples we must keep in mind none of them were used to washing anyone’s feet. Remember that most of them were fishermen and unrefined in the social graces. Remember also the accounts we have of their disputes, lack of knowledge in spiritual things, and desiring to be first.
Even today, many things we do in service to God have to be learned and His true servants always look for ways or places where they can serve. Look around; whether at home, work, or church there are always some who don’t ask, they just get busy and do the chores that need to be done. These have a servant’s heart. Those who wait to be served are not necessarily bad people, they just haven’t learned to be different. It is the same at home. Though in some there are designated assignments, in most cases there is always one, who without asking, just does chores such as taking out the trash, washing and drying the clothes, washing the car, yard work, mopping, sweeping, etc. Like foot washing back then, very few people like doing the “dirty work”, but someone has to do it. Are you that someone?
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 13:1) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.