My Feet Too?

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. -John 13:4-5 (NLT)

There were no paved roads in Israel; they were dirt.  There were lots of animals to be encountered along the roads that Jesus and the disciples traveled…donkeys and goats and sheep and cattle leave stuff behind them that make for treacherous footing.  Without modern sewage systems, what people often threw into the streets from their doorways wasn’t always just dishwater.  Sandals were hardly sufficient protective footwear for what could be potentially and probably trodden through.  Is it any wonder then why it was the lowest and most humiliating of jobs for a household servant in those days was to wash the filth and grime of the road from the feet of their masters and visitors? 

Now, with these images in mind, picture Jesus rising from the dinner table on that final night before His execution and placing Himself in the garb and the role of that same lowliest and humblest of household servants.  Imagine the immediate confused, surprised and even horrified looks of the Disciples as He began washing the dirt, filth and even dung from between their toes and the soles and ankles of their weary feet.  They were witnessing the Master…Teacher…Lord…Son of God…King of Kings…Messiah…God Incarnate, doing what only the sorriest and least valued of society and households was considered worthy to do!

It is the ultimate picture of humble and willing servanthood, but it is much more than that.  It is the picture and example of willing grace and forgiveness, even prior to the events requiring grace and forgiveness .  Never miss the fact that as Jesus washed the feet of the gathered disciples, His betrayer, Judas had not yet departed to sell out His Lord.  No, when he left to report the whereabouts of Jesus and receive his pay, he did so with feet freshly cleaned by Christ.  And Peter, so reluctant to allow His Master serve him in this fashion, would deny ever having known Him three times before the rising of the Sun.  And yet, His foreknowledge these matters did not stop the Savior from setting the example…from showing the way…from modeling sacrificial servanthood.

As hard as this might have been for the disciples to witness and to experience….as hard as it may even be for us to read about it, the hard part hasn’t yet occurred.  Here’s the hard part out the mouth of The One doing the washing.  Are you ready?  And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.  I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. (John 13:14-16)

The tough part was, that as His followers, Jesus expected the disciples to follow His example.  The tough part is, that as His followers, Jesus expects us to follow the same example!  There may be someone who has betrayed us…denied us….hurt us…brought tremendous harm to us, or will do so in the future, and if we are to represent Jesus then we must represent His servanthood…His forgiveness…His grace in the same manner as He did. 

Washing the feet of the ones we feel deserve it?  That might not be so hard.  Washing the feet of those who hurt us most?  That may not come so easily.  But then consider this question…

“If I had been in the room, would He have washed my feet?  Would I deserve it?”





2 Responses to “My Feet Too?”

  1. 1 Dana Dillon Walling
    July 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm


    I just found an old blog of yours with a fabulous tribute to Marian. I miss talking to her. We always loved to catch up and I’ll never forget our wild day in New York City. I think we hit every tourist site from Central Park down to Ground Zero and everything else in between.

    I thought of you the other day…I still have that Yes shirt you bought me back in ’72….it’s the oldest piece of my collection spanning since then……

    Anyway, Eddie, I hope you are well. You always put a smile on my face…and Marian’s.

    peace to you,


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