Posted on April 1, 2021 byunder
Scripture: St. John 13:1-15 (NKJV)
13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 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. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 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.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 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.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 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? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
What is the point of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet? The water certainly reminds us of Baptism, but this was a lesson in humility. Jesus was teaching, and the disciples were arguing which of them was most important. This topic was a favorite of theirs, even though Jesus kept telling them that true greatness was in service to God and others. So, Jesus gave a living object lesson. He took the place of a servant and did what servants do—they wash feet. Jesus came round and placed their tired feet in a bowl, poured fresh water over their feet to remove the dust, and then wiped them off with a towel.
Peter wanted to spare Jesus this humiliation, but Jesus would have none of that. He insisted. Jesus needed to continue to wash Peter so that his heart and his life would remain clean. The next day, Jesus would show how He truly “loved them to the end.” On the cross, Jesus gave his life for us in our place.
Just before Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, John tells us that Jesus knew that He “was going to God,” so He rose from the meal and prepared to wash His disciples’ feet. It was indeed a lesson in humility, with Jesus Himself showing the ultimate humility for our ultimate washing, where we are washed in the blood of Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Prayer: O Lord God, who hast left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so use this Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood, that the fruits of Thy redemption may continually be manifest in us. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.