Read: John 13:1-20, John 13:34-35
Jesus loved his disciples very much — there can be no mistake about this. One of his purposes while on earth was to teach the disciples how to love as he loved, and in a meaningful way, Jesus demonstrates this love by washing their feet. Jesus, being master and lord, takes on the role of a servant and washes the feet of all the disciples, even Judas who Jesus knew would betray him and who Jesus knew that the devil was already working in Judas’ heart. The work of washing feet was reserved for the lowliest of servants. In New Testament times, people principally wore open toed shoes that walked on dusty streets covered with all sorts of unclean things. This stuff would inevitably cover one’s feet. When going into a person’s house, a servant would usually be there to wash the guests feet as they entered the home. Jesus was demonstrating how the disciples were to love one another in a very tangible fashion.
In the midst of this, Peter insists that Jesus not wash his feet, as Peter did not fully understand the meaning of the what Jesus was doing. Jesus tells him that unless Jesus washes his feet, he has nothing to do with him. Peter, wanting everything to do with Jesus, insists on a bath. Jesus says that Peter is not in need of a bath because he is already clean. Judas was not clean though as he was about to betray Jesus. Jesus instructs the disciples that they should wash one another’s feet. In a manner of speaking Jesus was saying that they should love one another as he loved them. Jesus then quotes from Psalm 41:9 speaking of a friend who eats bread with him will betray him. Jesus knew that the betrayal was coming, but he mentions it so that they would know that Jesus said it to be so and that they would believe for this reason.
Paul exhorts Christians to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus in Philippians 2:1-8. Paul describes Jesus as one who was equal with God, but did hold onto this equality. Instead, he, being master of the universe, becomes a man, then a servant, then a death-row inmate all in sacrificial humility and obedience to God. This attitude of mutual submission to one another is the attitude that all Christians should have. Jesus notes that in John 13:35 that in this way people would know that they are his disciples. In other words, the mark of a Christian is love for other Christians, even when some people are difficult to love as Judas certainly was. Christians have Christ’s example and can live according to it.
Lord, you’re commandment is for us to love one another.
Help me to love others and others to love me so many can see this and give glory to you!