The example we must practice

Before observing the last Passover of his life, Jesus put a towel around his waist and began washing his disciples’ feet. After finishing the task, Jesus asked his disciples, “Do you know what I have done to you?” Never was there a more penetrating question.

Here was Peter: first to confess Jesus in Matthew 16, prominent in so many instances in the gospels, initially refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet. Possibly the look of astonishment and wonder was still on his face as Jesus asked this question. Then, there were James and John, who vied to sit on Jesus’ left and right hand (Matthew 20:20ff). Judas, the betrayer, would soon make his exit to go to the chief priests and receive his 30 pieces of silver.

In life, the disciples had called Jesus “teacher” and “Lord.” And he told them they were correct to do so (John 13:13). If Jesus, their Lord, washed their feet, then what would be their proper duty? They should love and serve each other. Jesus would shortly teach the 12 his commandment to love each other (John 13:34). For them to love one another, they would need to humble themselves and learn to serve.

David Lipe wrote, “Because of his love, he humbled himself and became the despised servant for others. The same love that makes it possible for people to be cleansed is the love that the community of believers is to have for one another.”[1]

In his instruction of the Christians in Philippi, the apostle Paul related the same attitude. “Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:4-6 NET).

Jesus gave his life to save humanity. To do so, he voluntarily gave himself to die the death of the despicable though he was not guilty of anything. He gave himself up for our sins freely, willingly that we might gain salvation and ultimately eternal life.

This example is one all of us must learn and practice if we are God’s children.

  [1] “John 13-21 Truth-for-Today Commentary by Dr. David Lipe, Resource Publications, Searcy, Arkansas, page 15.

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