Thursday had to be one of the busier days of Passion Week. Normally, we call this Maunday Thursday because the word “Maunday” comes from the Latin word meaning “command.” It is referred to this because it was on this night that Jesus commanded His disciples to observe the Lord Supper disciples (Matt 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30; John 13-14).
Later that evening Jesus and His disciples would walk to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus would be betrayed and arrested (Matt 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12).
But before, the disciples took the Lord’s Supper with Jesus Christ, they had their feet washed by the Creator of the universe, and for today’s post I am going to focus on this event only.
The disciples had gathered for the Passover meal, not knowing or expecting that before they remember God’s deliverance of their forefathers in Egypt, the One who helped deliver them would serve them. In fact, the disciples may have been arguing about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27). when Jesus decided to wash their feet. Can you imagine that? They were fighting over the throne of greatness as opposed to the towel of humility.
Jesus was driven by love, which is why He takes the basin and towel. It wasn’t because He was concerned for everyone’s smelly feet; it wasn’t because it was just something that had to be done; it wasn’t because some house slave was lazy or slow and hadn’t got around to it yet. Jesus knew it was the way to demonstrate His love to His own; so He washes their feet.
His love is unconditional and unwavering. You know Jesus could have sat in a corner and said, “Forget it! I have spent 30 years of my life trying to point people to God, the smartest most spiritual Jews in the hand don’t believe me, the Romans want me dead, my own disciples don’t understand what I am doing, and one of those disciples – Judas – wants to sell me for 30 pieces of silver. It’s not worth it!” His love was not contingent upon their frailty.
Servants don’t wait hoping someone will ask them to do something; they look for opportunities. We are lazy and apathetic when it comes to serving. We wait for it to come to us instead of us going to it.
Why didn’t the disciples wash one another’s feet or Jesus? They were obviously self-focused or in a state of self-pity with being troubled of their Savior’s soon departure. Perhaps word of a betrayer in their midst was occupying their mind as well.
As they disciples sat there in shock regarding what was happening, Jesus asked them if they understood what He was doing for them. He wanted them to wash each other’s feet, which wasn’t a command for the church to literally adopt foot-washing as a practice of the church, but to follow His example of servanthood – no matter the cost.
Jesus put others ahead of His own needs or agenda; He was compelled to wash their feet by love; He initiated the serving of the disciples and didn’t wait for someone else to do something that needed to be done; He refrained from being position-conscious; He didn’t care what others would think of Him; He even served one He knew would mistreat Him.