You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.John 13:13-14 (NLT)
I remember the first time I did communion on my own, as-in my parents weren’t there. It was at our high school and was part of a Friday night agape feast. My friend and I agreed to wash each other’s feet as part of the ceremony. As he peeled off his shoes and socks, and all too familiar smell began to emanate. You see, my friend had very stinky feet. And, here I was about to bend low and touch them. It was a bit gross, but I got through it.
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he had to go through something which was ten times worse than just stinky feet. Back in the day, circa 30 AD, people walked everywhere in sandals. If you’ve ever hiked wearing just sandals, you know that your feet get caked with the dust of the trail. They look nasty. Of course, they weren’t hiking on pristine trails up in the forests of Oregon. They were walking the dusty streets of Galilee and Jerusalem. In addition to people, animals were using these same streets – donkeys, camels, sheep, and other land mammals. These animals, of course, were not potty trained, so would relieve themselves whenever nature called. So, mixed with the dust and dirt of the roadways was the pee and poop of hundreds of animals. Finally, the Middle East tends to be very hot. Heat in humans produces sweat. Therefore, their feet would have been caked with a combination of sweat, dirt, and defecation when Jesus sat to wash their feet. It was gross!
Jesus was trying to teach his disciples, including you and me, a big lesson. There is no one too dirty, to gross, too far gone, to be washed clean by Jesus. In addition, we, as followers of Jesus, need to do the dirty work of reaching those who believe they are. We must humble ourselves, get past our own hang-ups, and serve them. As Jesus stated, “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.” In other words, it is in humility that Jesus serves us, therefore, we must humble ourselves and serve others, no matter the dirt and filth which have ruled their lives.
So, today, and every day, humble yourself and serve. Look for those who Jesus calls you to encourage. Help those who need to be washed clean by Jesus Christ.
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