John 13 tells the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Many of us have read that passage many times. I know I have. One of the verses caught my eye in a way it never has before the other day. Verses 3 and 4 read “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.” Something about verse 3 struck me this time. Jesus knew all things were under his power yet he took on the dirty task of washing feet because he knew who he was, where he had come from, and where he was going. Now that is confidence. Yet, it was not a confidence in himself. His confidence came straight from God, his Father.
I can imagine the disciples as they watched their master. This man that they looked up to and believed to be God’s son and their Savior got down on his knees to take care of them. Their feet would have been really dirty and maybe even stinky. I know how dirty my daughter’s feet get when she wears sandals or goes barefoot. They don’t tend to stink but they sure are dirty. The master of the house never would wash feet. That job was left for the servants.
Jesus showed us how to really care for others. We put their needs above our position in life, our phobias (dirty feet, ugh!), or our own needs. Yet Jesus knew how to place limits as well. Peter did not need a full bath. He only needed his feet washed. Jesus set the limits to what was really needed. Can we serve too much? Maybe so, but we must never say no because we don’t want to serve. We must only say no when the service is not really needed. My daughter might as for ice cream right before sitting down at the supper table. I am not serving her needs correctly if I give it to her right then. I am serving her well when I feed her healthy food first.
Let us follow our Master’s example and serve as we should regardless of who we are and how we feel. Let us find our confidence in whose we are and where we are going when Jesus comes again.