My wife and I were invited by a friend to a three-day retreat for pastors. The free activities, lodging, and eating took place in a large private residence that easily accommodated several couples. At the end, I asked, “Whose property is it? Who offered it to us for the retreat?” I was told that it was the unassuming guy who served us dinner—the last person I expected to be the owner.
In John 3, Jesus and His disciples were preparing to partake of the Passover meal. But before the meal, Jesus got up, put a towel around His waist, and began to wash and dry His disciples’ feet (vv. 4–5). Usually the washing of the feet was done by a servant or someone of lower social status when a guest entered the home of his host.
Jesus took on the role of a servant by washing His disciples’ feet. Imagine their surprise at having Jesus, their esteemed Teacher, kneel before them to wash their feet! Peter was uncomfortably aware of the reversal of roles and wanted nothing to do with it (v. 8). However, Jesus made it clear that He needed to wash his feet or Peter would have no part with Him. Peter repented and wanted his head and hands washed as well (v. 9).
Jesus demonstrated to His disciples what humble and loving service looked like. By taking on this role of a servant and extending loving care to each one of them, He was encouraging them to set aside their differences and serve one another. Jesus taught by example, serving them to the very end.
>> Christmas is known as a time of giving. We give gifts to our family and friends. In addition to material gifts, consider giving the gift of service: serving food at a homeless shelter or helping at a nursing home. Remember, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
Though we love You, Lord, we often carry our love for comfort or enjoyment too far, preferring our own well-being over others’. Forgive us for our selfishness and humble us to serve others as You would.