November 19, 2013

Jesus Washes Our Feet

John 13:1-17

“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
—John 13:8


Jesus’ death is only a day away, and he is again at dinner with his followers. But this time he is the host.

Knowing what will soon happen to him, Jesus does something for his disciples. He gets up from the table, wraps a towel around his waist, gets a pitcher of water, and begins to wash his disciples’ feet. He wants to get the dirt off, and he takes the role of a servant to do it.

When Jesus gets to Peter, he objects: “You shall never wash my feet!” Peter knows that it should be the other way around.

“Unless I wash you,” Jesus replies, “you have no part with me.” In effect, Jesus is saying, “Unless I wash you, you have no part in my death, no part in my resurrection, no part in my kingdom of life! I’ve got to wash you, Peter!”

There is a time when Jesus must wash our dirt away. There is a time when we have to let Jesus do what he came to do.

He then tells us to wash each other’s feet, to serve one another and point people to him, the Savior who gives us new life. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19); we forgive be-cause he first forgave us (Colossians 3:13); we serve because he first served us. He does all this first, freeing us to follow his example. Because he does it first, he can expect us do it also.

Jesus, wash us completely, that we may have new life in you. And help us to serve others for your sake, pointing them to you and to the life you give. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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