“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.” – John 13:3 –

The Passover Festival is soon to commence. Jesus understands that His hour has come. He will choose to walk the prophesied path before Him. He will lay down His life of His own accord. No one can stop His Father’s plan from unfolding.

Jesus looks around at the twelve seated at the table with Him, sharing His last meal. He recognizes that He has loved them to the end… even the one who will betray Him. He has shared with them all that will soon transpire… however unwilling they have been to accept it. There will be no turning back for Him.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

It is now that Jesus gives His disciples a living lesson of a true servant’s heart. The Master becomes the One who serves. In a beautiful act of humility and self-sacrifice, Jesus kneels before each of His disciples one by one and proceeds to wash their feet.

Peter is taken aback that his Master should deign to stoop and wash his feet. Yet Jesus does not believe it beneath Him to serve the ones He loves. When this apostle objects, Jesus explains that without His cleansing, Peter can have no share in His kingdom, His redemption, His inheritance.

“Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” – John 13:8

For the deeper meaning of this sacrificial act is one of spiritual cleansing… a washing away of all that spiritually defiles… a purification from all sin. Jesus alone has the authority to forgive sins. He is the One who redeems. This act points ahead to His greatest act of sacrifice as Redeemer of all mankind.

“Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” – John 13:9

Ever the headstrong apostle, Peter is now ready to dive in. When this devoted follower realizes the significance of the act, he asks that his entire being be cleansed. His desire is to be so united with his Lord… to be purified by His saving grace. He longs to follow the will of his Master.

Jesus shares that only Peter’s feet are in need of cleansing for they have been defiled by the world. Looking deeper, Jesus is implying that His apostles have been washed clean by His word. It is in their daily walk where they need ongoing cleansing from sin.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that Judas has not yet left the group and turned traitor. Jesus humbles Himself, even to the one who will prove unfaithful. He washes the feet of the one He knows will give the kiss of disloyalty. This is the heart of Christ, overflowing with love for all… without condition, without measure.

“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.” – John 13:14-15

He who came as our Master became a servant to all. Jesus loves His own… the ones He purchased with His life. He promises to love us to the end. Nothing will ever separate us from His love. Yet unless we allow Him to wash us clean… to cleanse us of our sins… to purify our hearts, we can have no part of Him, His kingdom, His redemption.

Our initial cleansing happens when we are reborn into Christ’s kingdom at salvation. Justification occurs once… sanctification continues throughout our spiritual walk. Like the apostles, we daily need cleansing from the sin, defilement and pollution of the world. Jesus sanctifies us as we repent and seek His promised cleansing.

“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

Jesus proceeds to give His disciples, and us, a new commandment. He has set an example of how we are to live as a reflection of Him. He stooped to wash the feet of those He loved… and He asks that we do the same. He models for us a heart overflowing with love… a heart that desires to serve with humility and selflessness.

»   What does it look like to live out Jesus’ heart of love?

Our minds are captive to Christ… our spirits seek to share His love… our hearts desire to bless. Our eyes look for the good… our ears are attuned to His voice… our mouths speak words of hope. Our hands reach out to help… and our feet follow closely the way of Jesus. When our lives reflect His life, we show the world that we are His disciples