Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Jesus knew that his hour had come. (John 13:1)
Today, we read the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. It was an
act of extreme humility that caught them off guard. And so he asked
them: “Do you realize what I have done for you? … As I have done
for you, you should also do” (John 13:12,15).
So is this the final lesson? Did Jesus wash his disciples’ feet as a way
of calling them to take up a life of humble service? Well, yes and no.
Yes, Jesus did urge his disciples to become humble servants like
himself—and he did it in a specially powerful way with this prophetic
gesture. But that’s not all he was doing. Look at the way John
introduces this story: “Jesus knew that his hour had come… . He loved
his own in the world and he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
Jesus knew that the end was near. Yet rather than spend these final few
hours focusing on his own life, he went out of his way to show his
disciples how deeply he loved them. He knew that words alone weren’t
going to do the job. Words can be forgotten all too easily. So he chose
a prophetic gesture that would make a deep impression on them. He chose
to perform an act that was reserved for household slaves. He chose an
act that would be forever etched in the disciples’ memories as proof of
his love and his commitment to them. With this act, Jesus went beyond
humility. It was his way of telling them: “I have loved you right up to
the end of my earthly days. I have confidence in you. I am entrusting my
church to you. Now go and lead others as I have led you.”
Tonight’s liturgy includes a time for the pastor to wash the feet of
some of his parishioners. It’s his way of mirroring Jesus. It’s his way
of giving us all a sign of how deeply dedicated to us Jesus is, of how
strong his love for us is. As this special rite unfolds tonight, imagine
that Jesus himself is present, telling all of us: “I love you so much.
You can count on me in every situation.”
“Jesus, I am overwhelmed by your love!”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
(From the “Word Among Us” — http://www.wau.org)–