John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God, 4 stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel, 5 poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel. (The VOICE Translation)
When Jesus gathered His disciples in the Upper Room and celebrated the Passover with them, He had some surprises in store for them.
One is that they didn’t expect Jesus to stand up and do something that only the lowliest of servants would do – remove his outer garments and wrap Himself in a towel and pour water in a basin and wash the feet of His disciples.
The reason this job was left to the servants or sometimes children, is likely because it was literally, a dirty job. As the lowest part of the body, feet tend to get dirty. Feet that wear sandals get dirtier. Feet that wear sandals and walk on dirt roads, get very dirty. I’m not sure why foot washing needs to be mandatory at a Maundy Thursday service. The name is a bit mysterious. People frequently wonder what it means. It comes from the Latin word, “mandatum,” which is where we get our English words “mandate” and “mandatory.” Hmm, that word again.
As Jesus’ followers, we do have a mandate – or a command – that He gave to us. This command is not foot washing – but when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He was giving them a living example of what this command looks like in action.
John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must al-so love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love one another as I have loved you.
If we love like Jesus…
See Jesus in one another…
Act like Jesus toward one another…
What will life look like? What will the Church look like? What will our community look like? What will the world look like?
Dear Jesus, may I never be a hindrance to the uniting power of Your Holy Spirit and the work You are doing to fulfill Your prayer that we – Your Church – will be one, as You and the Father are one. May we come together humbly and serve one another and our community as we serve You. In Your name I pray, Amen.
Another thing happened that night which continues – it is both a sign of the presence of the Lord with us and an act of obedience on our part when we participate – and it is one of the things God uses to bring us together and unite us as His Church.
1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread.