The events of Thursday of Holy Week start quietly, but are part of a series of events that changed world history.
Jesus gathered his disciples, and gave them an object lesson, a multi-sensory learning exercise. He washed their feet!
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1–5,12-17)
There is no question about the point that Jesus is making about the priority of sacrificial love among his followers. He pronounced, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them “ not from the elevated pulpit of a cathedral but in a room where all sat together. There is no position among those who follow Jesus that exempts us from serving. There is no other priority that excuses us from loving each other.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)
Our lives, families, congregations, and communities are all better off because we attempt to live in response to this gracious command. "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:18–19)
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us so completely! Help us to love like you love. Amen.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee, chocolate chip cookies, Apple products, small video projects, and the New England Patriots.