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  • Writer's pictureBeverly Nickles

Jesus stoops to wash other’s dirty feet

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Last Gathering

Jesus, knowing he would be arrested and crucified only hours from now, gathered his 12 disciples one last time. Stunned and confused by the news that he was leaving them, Jesus pressed home vital truths his beloved disciples would need to carry on without him. His final words to them are recorded only in John’s gospel, chapter 14 – 17.

Below is the seond in a short series of teachings Jesus shared during their Last Gathering. (John 13)

Jesus stoops to wash other’s dirty feet

As Jesus 12 disciples gathered with him in the Upper Room, they had no hint that this would be their last supper together. At this point, they remained completely in the dark about the shattering news Jesus would soon deliver about his imminent departure.

The disciples entered the Upper Room sulking, still irritated with each other over an earlier dispute about who would be the greatest in their Master’s coming kingdom. Still harboring anger and resentment, they silently reclined around the table. Customarily, one should have risen and humbly washed the street dust off the other’s feet. No one would.

Jesus rose, picked up the water and towel, and began to wash their feet, beginning with Judas, the one who planned his betrayal. The disciples were astonished and ashamed. Their Master was washing their dirty feet. Peter protested, even refused it, until Jesus made it clear that unless he complied, he would expel him from their fellowship.

As always, Jesus acted out of genuine love and humility. He needed to break the foul mood and return the disciples’ attitudes back to unity and love. Within 24 hours he would be dead, crucified on a cruel cross, and he had important last things to tell them. They needed to hear.

By stooping to perform this act of lowly service, Jesus changed in minutes these angry, proud and resentful men into a band of humble and loving disciples. Esteeming others greater than themselves. Jesus cleansed the sin stain from their consciences, and opened the way for restored fellowship with himself and the others.

This provides a profound example for us, of course, of the need for humble service toward each other. And provides a picture of our need for cleansing of the individual sins that stain our conscience, break our fellowship with the Lord, and block the flow of blessings. Once having been truly cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we need only to be washed of the sins we allow later to defile us.

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