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Bible Reading: 24th April 2015

John 13.5

5 Next He puts water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them thoroughly with the towel He had wrapped around Him.

I was fortunate enough to have started my working life as a junior porter on the railways. I worked on a small station, in a small country town. Not many people were employed on the station, but everyone help one another with most tasks. However, there was one job that I was detailed to do that no one else did, and that was to scrub and polish the floors.

Suppose the Station Master took it upon himself to do that job, the other staff would have been amazed, because it was a job that was for the lowest person, and not the person who was in charge of the station.

The disciples would have been amazed that Jesus began to do the job that would normally be carried out by a servant. The disciples obviously thought that to wash one another’s feet was a task that was beneath them. None of them felt they could lower themselves to the status of a servant.

We can only imagine the embarrassment that they must have felt that Jesus was the one who took upon Himself the role of a servant to them all.

It was a menial task; it was a job that servants were employed to do. It is obvious that none of the disciples could bring themselves to serve the others in such a menial way.

It helps to have a little background as to why feet needed to be washed.

The roads were dusty in dry weather, and muddy in wet weather. The footwear was a leather sole with straps to keep it attached to the foot. Today’s flip-flop would not be too dissimilar.

Therefore, in whatever weather, the feet would get very dirty. This meant that the feet needed to be washed before sitting down to a meal. Stone water jars would have been provided for this purpose, and a servant to carry out the task.

As we grow older and become more mature in Jesus, there is the ever present danger that we may cease to be servants. In all things we must have the same attitude as Jesus:

[6] Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. [7] He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form – Philippians 2.6-7 (NLT).

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