Jesus looked around the Upper Room where he and his disciples had gathered to eat their Passover supper. Though they were unaware, he knew his time was near. Within hours, he would hang on a cross, dying an excruciating death for the sins of all mankind. On the third day, he would come gloriously back to life.
His gaze found Thomas who would doubt him, Peter who would deny knowing him, Judas who would sell him to his enemies. All of his disciples so devoted to him now would run for their lives when he was arrested this very night. At the moment, however, they were squabbling over who would be greatest in his coming kingdom.
Leaving his place at the table, he–the great Lord God among them in human flesh–put on the garb of the lowliest slave in a Hebrew household. Filling a basin with water, he knelt down before his astonished disciples to wash their dusty feet.
When he finished, he said, “I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet” and urged them to do the same because “no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:13-15, New International Version).
On the night before he died for all of our sins, Jesus set us a great example of humility. No matter what position, talent or wisdom we might possess, we are to be one another’s humble servants. If we willingly perform even the lowliest of tasks to serve the people in our lives, Jesus promised we will be blessed. Yes, we will be happy!
The apostle Paul expressed the same idea when he wrote that we should …
Focus: Be devoted to each other in brotherly love and honor each other more than ourselves. (Romans 12:10).
How about you? Have you served someone else and found yourself blessed by that simple act?
(This blog post adapted from a March 1999 piece published by Together in Faith in my ten-year column, Love With Shoes On.)