The time was short. Jesus knew that the time for him to lay down his life, to be crucified and to bear the weight of our sin was fast approaching. Soon he would be returning to the Father, but there were things he still wanted the disciples to understand. And so he showed them by kneeling and washing their feet. He who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:6-7, ESV)

Foot washing in those days was a humble task, reserved for servants or those of a lower status. Although only Peter spoke up to object, surely the others felt the same. How could he, their Rabbi, their Lord, humble himself this way? Yet Jesus removed his outer garment, knelt before the twelve men, including the one who was about to betray him, and washed their feet like a lowly servant. Then he asked them, do you understand what I have done to you? Do we understand the upside-down way that he is calling us to live in this world? Do we understand that to truly love one another we must be willing to empty ourselves of “self” and live “given” for the sake of the other?

After the betrayer, Judas, went into the night, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, ESV)

In washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus gave them — and us — an example of what this kind of love looks like. It looks like humility. It looks like servanthood.


The invitation today is for you to consider who you might reach out to with this kind of Christ-emulating love? Take time to reflect on your relationships with other believers. In what ways does your love for them show, or not show, a watching world that you are one of Jesus’ disciples?

By Nicole Jiles
Children’s Ministry Director

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