He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet.
I recently performed the funeral of a dear woman in my church. She had sat in the back of church for years until her health began to wane. She never gave public prayer requests. She served people with quiet notes of encouragement. She smiled at me from a distance to let me know she appreciated a sermon. Two days after her death, a letter came to the church with her offering. She served Jesus without much talking or fanfare.
Jesus does the same sort of thing in today’s verses. He served silently—until he reached Peter. Everyone knows Peter loved to talk. Sometimes all his talk messed up his ability to give and receive service.
Jesus knew he was going to die, so he had to prepare the disciples to carry on his work.
And Jesus knew Peter.
We do not know how many disciples received Jesus’ washing by the time he reached Peter. But Peter showed he did not understand the purpose of this service. He wanted to follow Jesus, but he didn’t understand that serving Jesus meant he would willingly take on the role of a servant. Jesus assured Peter, though, that later he would understand.
Jesus alerts us that humble service is our way to fulfill the mission of God’s kingdom in this world. Jesus leads us to serve!
Jesus, thank you for modeling servanthood. Help me to serve you with humble actions instead of boastful words. Help me to understand how I can serve you faithfully. Amen.
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