John 13:12-20 : So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I don’t speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I am he. Most certainly I tell you, he who receives whomever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me.”
Even though Jesus told His disciples that they would understand what He was doing later, He did explain something about what He did to them right away. Jesus explains that as our teacher and “Lord”, and since He is greater than us, we should follow His example and wash each other’s feet.
This is a simple thing. It isn’t that we are to actually wash feet as a ceremony, but that we should be servants to one another and take it as a great honor to be like our teacher who did the same to us. This is a simple but powerful lesson. It is not common for a great leader to make servant-hood a high goal, but this is exactly what we need in our world. Willing service to each other expresses the character of God.
It is man that wants to play “Lord” and make other bow and live as subjection to them as those who are less valuable. But Jesus turns things upside-down and says that to be great, you must be a servant like your Lord!
Notice that Jesus says that if we receive a person that He sends, He sees it as not only receiving Jesus but receiving the Father as well. This expresses the kind of honor it is to serve someone who came from God. All Christians are children of God and come from Him. This gives us many Christians to serve. Most likely, there is a Christian that you can serve today. It is a great honor to serve them and Jesus receives the gift as if it were given to Him and to His Father. See the joy it can be to give to others? It is a great blessing for us to be able to put our own greed aside and start giving and living. It is a great blessing to have such a great example.
Now this is one of the codes in this story, but it appears to be only a surface interpretation and it is an important one, but what is it that the disciples were later to learn? What did Jesus mean when He said: “you will understand later?” Lord willing, we will see what I believe to be part of the deeper meaning starting with the next lesson.