Washing the Disciples Feet | Matt Dawson
Scripture: John 13:1-7
“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet? Jesus replied,“You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
The first thing that pops out to me in this passage is that as John observes Jesus, he sees something very special and different in this moment. This is the moment, as John describes it, that Jesus fully reflects on the power and authority given to Him by God and decides to give us the best example of leadership that we can ever have. Jesus washes their feet… he takes on the form of a servant and serves the men He loves. Peter doesn’t get it and even questions this moment – Jesus simply says “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will”.
Jesus was the most important person in the room. If anyone deserved to BE SERVED, it was Him. Yet, he leveraged that position, that authority, that influence – to serve others. He did not allow this moment to pass by and take advantage – He used that was given to Him to set others up for success in the future.
As a husband, dad, pastor, employer, leader – I often wonder if I’m leveraging the influence and authority given to me to serve others. I am thankful to have many men and women in my life who gave me great examples of servant leadership. But it’s too easy to slip into that place of feeling that we deserve to BE SERVED (by our spouse, our kids, our employees, those we lead). This is not what Jesus did, and IN THIS MOMENT He wanted all of us to see that there is a BETTER way to use what has been given to us – to serve others.
What do you do when you walk into a room and you are the one with the most authority? Or the most influence? Or the most respected? Is this a time in which you allow yourself to slowly drift towards a place of being served? Do you come up with excuses as to why others should serve you (just this once) because you’re tired, or worn out, or just don’t feel like you have it in you to do it again?
What would happen if we consistently leveraged all that was given to us (love, authority, opportunity, empowerment, influence), and we used it to serve others, to place their needs and wants ahead of our own? To show them respect they might not have earned, or grace they don’t deserve. What if we could use those moments in our lives to set this same example of servant leadership?
Jesus, thank you. Thank you for loving me so much that even in this moment – you have leveraged everything, YOUR LIFE, to show how much you love me. Thank you for showing me this example of how to be the best husband, dad, friend, boss, pastor, and leader I can be.
Please help me remember to leverage all that you have given me to bless others and serve them everyday. It’s only by Your grace and power that I will be able to die to my own selfish desires and place others ahead of me.
Thank you Jesus for loving us more than we can possibly know.