If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14 NASB)
You are likely familiar with the situation. It is the Passover meal, and Jesus is sharing it with the men who have walked with Him for 3 ½ years. They don’t know it is the “Last” supper, to them it is another celebration of God's hand of salvation from Egypt those thousands of years before.
Jesus gets up, I am sure at first they don’t even notice, but eventually they quiet down as one by one they start to follow His movements. He then sheds His outer cloak, or tunic and puts a towel around His waste. Then he goes over to the vessel used to bring the water in from the well. He dips some into a bowl.
As He heads back to the table, all eyes are now on Him. The stillness is tangible. Down He goes on His knees in front of Thomas. He gently takes off the dusty sandals. Thomas wants to resist, but the Master steadies Him with a deep look into His eyes as if to say ‘trust me.’
He takes that dusty foot, the first of two-dozen, and rinses the day’s residue off.
They know it’s wrong. It’s all upside down. They have an inkling of the fact that this is not just some teacher, some prophet. They know Jesus is far more. It has come to them over the months, a revelation of awe here, and wonder there. Who is this man?
They suspect, well, they know He is the Messiah, the promised one. But what does that mean? Was He getting ready to start a new priestly order, a prophetic school? Would He seize control of the temple? Would He overthrow Rome?
Now He is acting like a servant.
Rather than answer their confusion, He turns it back on them.
I know you want to rule with Me, to sit on My left and right, so here’s how.
Take off your robe of position, your robe of honor, your robe of distinction, and take up the garment of a servant, the garment of humility. You want to be somebody like Me, take up the robe of a nobody with Me.
Lay down your rights, your privilege, your position, your lives. Take up your cross and follow Me.
Wow – yep – that’s it – just wow.