There are so many things in the Bible and in the life of Jesus in particular that challenge us and seem to turn our way of thinking about the way the world works on its head. John 13 is one such incident. The whole idea of people knowing where they fit in the hierarchy of society, workplace, the family, the community, the church, is turned upside down in one act, when Jesus, the God-man, stoops and washes his disciples’ dirty feet.
It was no doubt an awkward moment for them. It was a task that needed to be done, but there was no servant or slave to do the job and no-one wanted to make the first move. The disciples knew from the teaching of Jesus what He thought about how they were to lead – by serving. But like us all, hearing something and translating it into action are two different things. Jesus gives them a powerful illustration that clearly drives home the point.
What is at the bottom of this is what is driving Jesus to the cross. It’s love – living totally for the benefit of the other. Serving, servant leadership, self-sacrifice, whatever name you want to give it. But the essence is a massive shift from living with an inward focus to living with an outward focus. Giving ourselves to live for the glory of God and the good of others.
May God give us the humility and grace to live this way in our homes, workplaces, church, and wherever He sends us, so that we reflect the love that Jesus had towards us, as He took on himself our dirt and died in our place on the cross.