Reading: He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. John 13:5

Foot washing in Israel was viewed as a most menial task, one usually left for slaves or for the lowest in the household. That Christ should undertake to do this work should not surprise us. 

He testified that as the Son of man, he had come, not to be ministered unto, but to minister (Matthew 20:28). He is the shepherd who cares for and carries His sheep. He is the great encourager, helper, acquaintance, and husband of His people and He is the servant willing to serve.

Christ served out of infinite love. He served willingly and gladly. No one pressed the Saviour to serve in this way. He served humbly and quietly. Some of the disciples were proud men at times, sometimes arguing who would be the greatest in the kingdom. In contrast, Christ was marked with the greatest humility.

In taking the towel and washing His disciples’ feet, Christ has left us a pattern of true Christian service. The customs and cultures are different and therefore we do not need to literally wash each other’s feet, but servants of Christ must serve as Christ served. It is a Christian’s joy to minister unto others. In this respect the scriptural principle, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” is important. We serve God as we serve others. It may be that opportunities to serve the Lord involve small and menial tasks in places that are not noticed by many. They may involve sacrifice and appear to go unrewarded, but as God gives us opportunity, let us, like our Saviour, serve with our whole heart. If Christ can take a towel and wash His disciples’ feet, if He can step from heaven to earth and die for us as God’s worthy servant, surely there is nothing we should not be willing and ready to do for Him.

“How few Christians really believe their Master, who said that the greatest disciples are those who serve their brethren.”  Alexander Simpson 

Taken from A Word in Season edited by Alan Cairns, 2010. Used by permission.