Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Maundy Thursday: Foot Washing}

Today is Maundy Thursday.  It is the Thursday before Easter during Holy Week that commemorates the Maundy (or foot washing) Jesus gave to the Disciples which was followed by the Last Supper.  This was one more reminder He gave to us as followers that we are here to serve and not to be served, just as He came to show (Matthew 20:28).  In those days, washing feet was a pretty big deal; think about the context of today: would you wash someone else's feet? And if you did, there's a high likeliness that their feet would probably be clean, despite wearing socks and shoes all day.  When Jesus lived on earth, people wore sandals.  No big deal, right? Well they also walked everywhere, for miles and miles, through sand, and dust, and mud, and camel poop, and goodness knows what else. Everything got on their feet.  The only thing their sandals were really there for is to protect their feet from being scorched by the hot ground.  Understanding this, their feet were probably pretty nasty.  It was custom that the host of a house would have his guests feet washed by his servants; this was just proper etiquette.  In John 12:1-17, we read that Jesus, who was a guest, and an honored guest, got down on His hands and knees with a towel wrapped around His and began washing the feet of the Disciples.  He served them in this way to show them that it is greater to be a servant, but neither servant nor lord are greater than the one God sent (Jesus).  If Jesus serves those who are not worthy, we not only serve Him, but serve others who we deem as unworthy.

At a certain point, Simon Peter asked if Jesus was really going to wash his feet.  Jesus replied, "You do not realized now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  Simon Peter, understanding the foot washer as being the servant of the household said, "No, I will never let you wash my feet."  Jesus then replied, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Although Simon Peter probably took that as Jesus saying, 'then you can leave' or something to the effect, Jesus was foreshadowing His purpose for coming to the world. Unless we are washed by Him, we have no part with Him; unless Jesus is the one who covers our sins, we have nothing to do with Him.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served.  He came to live a perfect life, and to show us how to live in order to please the Lord.  He came to show us how to love God, and how to love others, and how to put others before ourselves in service. Jesus cleaned the dirt and gunk off of His Disciples' feet; He is the Lord of all creation and is worthy to be praised, and foot washing is not below Him.  This is one of the last examples of love Jesus portrayed to us before dying on the cross.  Take this to heart today, and really think about your purpose as a Christ follower.  Who are you choosing to serve versus who you ought to be serving?  Thank God for the life of Christ and the lessons He taught us, and love God by serving those God loves.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, 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 13:12-17

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