Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
This passage is one of the sweetest in all of human history. The setting is an intimate dinner of friends. Jesus disrobes, kneels and does what it is common for a servant to do. I cannot imagine the impact that this foot washing had on the disciples. I think that Peter's reaction is representative of those who felt the refreshing splash of water on their feet. Feeling Jesus' hands on their feet must have been a shocking and surreal experience. Who can resist the humility of this servant king who washes the feet of the one who would betray him?
Yet many of us, like Peter, object to this image. In truth we do not want a God who washes our feet and challenges our humility. History has proven that mankind is driven by pride and self achievement. Even service to others can take on a fleshly spin where we boast of our charity like we are in competition with each other. Christ's foot washing is repugnant to man yet the message of it is so needed. Would that our governmental leaders learn to wash each other's feet. Would that I would learn this essential lesson as well.
I am prideful Lord. Show me how to wash men's feet.