If you have the chance, I would love to encourage you to read John Ch 13. In this chapter, Jesus is gathered together with his disciples the night before the Passover Feast, where he shares his last meal with them. On our NYC trip, I shared this passage with the students and shared three applications for serving others that hopefully will be helpful to you as well. I have pasted the passage below for your pleasurable reading before going down to my personal thoughts.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 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.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13:1-20 ESV)
As I preparing for this trip, I was looking for something to share that would help the students to get into the right mindset before they went out to learn and to serve througout NYC. It was inevitable that as we were to travel throughout NYC and serve, that they would get tired and restless, so it was important to remind ourselves of some foundational truths before going out. Below are three highlights that I pointed out.
1. Do You Know Who You Are?
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…
Throughout the book of John, one thing that you can clearly see is Jesus’ clear understanding of who He was. He knew where He came from, who He was, and where He was going. I am confident in saying that he was the most secure man to have ever lived.
Are you a believer? Do you know God as your Father who loves you infinitely? Do you know that Jesus is your savior who saved you from your sins and a life on its way to eternity without God? Do you know that you are a sinner redeemed by the life of Jesus? Not many people go about life simply reminding themselves of these things, but we should be! How we see ourselves will affect how we look at the world and how we interact with it. Grow in your relationship with the Father and know who you are. Become confident in the reality that you were once lost, a sinner without hope, redeemed by God’s saving grace through Jesus’ death on the cross, to live a new life that gives God all the glory!
2. What Holds You Back From Allowing Jesus To Wash Your Feet?
In this passage, Peter first does not truly understand the meaning of why Jesus, his Lord, is washing his feet. And he even refuses, I believe, initially, out of reverence. But this is where he oversteps his own boundaries and assumptions.
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.”
Peter refuses to allow Jesus to wash his feet. I think this is simply because he does not fully understand who Jesus is and what He has come to do. I believe Peter has placed Jesus in this “God box” where he is someone who is powerful, almighty, and worthy of worship. These things are all good and awesome, but it’s not all that Jesus is. Jesus is a God who is love, who is not distant, but comes down to the earth as a human who lives, laughs, suffers, and dies among us.
Jesus came to touch our life, and mess with us in the most beautiful intimate way that we could never have imagined or dared dreamed for. He has the touch that our hearts yearn for, yet never knew how to cry out for.
There are things that will prevent us from allowing Jesus to wash our own feet, and thus preventing us from having a relationship with Him.
One is putting God in a box as one who does not want to move in your life. The second, and one that I perceive is most prevalent in our lives, is our own pride. We keep walls in our life through our pride that essentially communicate to God, “I don’t want you to touch this area of my life. You will never wash this area of my life.” Are you holding God back from touching your grades, your relationships, your finances, your family, your commitments, your time, your life? Beware, if you hold anything back, you will not be able to have Jesus come into your own life.
3. Do You Understand What Jesus Has Done To You?
The final thing that I would like to point out and share with you all is the question of “Do you understand what Jesus has done to you?”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
I want you to think with me as I ask, why is it that Jesus has done something “TO” them and not “FOR” them. I think that Jesus, when he has washed their feet, has symbolized more than service, but the life that he has given to them. When you do something for someone, there is a possibility that they might not even realize or know it. But when you do something to them, there is a direct effect. You can’t walk away from a “to” interaction.
So what is it that Jesus has done to them and to us? Jesus has not just washed our feet, but he has washed our whole lives. We are washed clean of our sins once and for all. We are now clean in the eyes of the God of the universe! He has come into our lives and eradicated the evil that once reigned free in our hearts.
He has given us freedom from slavery to sin. He has transformed us into a new creation with a new purpose in life. He has entered into our hearts, minds, and souls to become the King that rightly sits on His throne, in every life of His children.
I want to encourage us to ask that question in our every day life. Do we understand what Jesus has done to us? If you know what Jesus has done to you, then I believe that we will have the right foundation and perspective to love and serve others. We wash other people’s feet because Jesus washed ours. We share the good news of a life with Jesus because that’s what he came to do for us. We wash bathrooms because Jesus washed the bathrooms of our sinful lives. We serve the homeless because Jesus came to serve the Fatherless and give them the Father. We go because Jesus went for us. Everything we do in life must be an extension of what Jesus has done to us. If not, then we are doing it for ourselves and our own glory.
The suggestions that I made don’t have direct implications to service, yet they might be the most important. They point to you understanding who you are, your worldview, and why you do what you do. If you can answer these questions confidently, I believe you will serve with what has been mentioned beautifully as a “humble confidence.”
LET’S WASH SOME FEET!