November 28, 2022

The Footwashing King

John 13:1-17

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

—  John 13:14

John 13 shows us that during Jesus’ final Passover meal with his disciples, he got up and washed their feet. This was ordinarily the job of a slave or a servant. And in that day, people wore sandals and walked along dusty roads with animals. Filthy feet could ruin people’s appetites at a holiday meal.

One of my seminary professors encouraged his students to pay attention to the verbs describing Jesus’ actions in this passage. In these verbs we get a picture of Jesus’ mission and purpose. Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist”—and he proceeded to “wash his disciples’ feet.” Then, afterward, “he put on his clothes and returned to his place.”

What is the bigger picture? Jesus got up from his heavenly throne, took off his heavenly glory, and wrapped himself in our flesh and blood. Through his life, death, and resurrection, he washed away his people’s sins. Then he ascended to heaven, put on his heavenly glory, and returned to his place with God on the throne.

Through the power of the Spirit and by following Jesus’ example, we too can serve one another at the Jesus-meal and wherever he calls us to go.

Dear Jesus, our King who became a slave for our sake, we praise you for this story that humbles us, inspires us, and empowers us for service in your kingdom. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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