“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”(John 13:13-15)
The Disciples could sense that this night was different. The whole week had been intense. It began with the crowds shouting and waving palm branches as Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, but the days since then had been a checkboard of arguments, miracles, debates, and challenges. Now, on the night of Passover, they gathered in a room to be together. Jesus Christ had told them He would be arrested and killed.
In the thick air of anticipation, Jesus Christ did something totally bizarre. He ceremoniously washed each of the men’s feet. They watched in amazement as He went from one disciple to the next. When He was finished, He sat down and explained that He had done this as an example for them to follow after He was gone. Washing their feet was a simple act of service, usually performed by the lowest-ranking servant in a home. “Serve one another,” Jesus Christ was telling and showing them. “If you think you’re too good to serve one another this way, just remember that I did it, and I’m your Lord and Teacher.”
Washing their feet also symbolized forgiveness. Just as He forgave the disciples and they would need His forgiveness again in an hour or so when they abandoned Him to the soldiers. Jesus wanted them to forgive one another.
We can all think we’re too cool, too good, too sophisticated, or too something else to stoop to serve others around us, but Jesus wants managers, officials, parents, and any others in authority to lead by serving.