Washing Feet | John 13

Welcome to Real Life. From heaven’s perspective, the greatest leader is a greatest servant.


“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

It was the week of Passover. Jesus and his disciples gathered for their evening meal. Before the food was served, Jesus got up. He wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water in a basin, and began to wash his disciples’ feet.

This was the job of a household servant.

None of the disciples had volunteered for the task. It was beneath them. Yet, here was their leader and Lord washing feet. Peter felt how wrong this was. He should be the one serving his Lord, not the other way around. So, when Jesus approached to wash his feet, Peter refused... at first. However, when Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me,” Peter was all in. Not just my feet, wash all of me.

“So, your mom lost her other leg?” Sue asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I’m so sorry. This may sound strange. But, I’m going to miss that leg and foot since I used to take care of them.”

Twice a week, our friend Sue came in to help care for my elderly parents. Mom had already lost one leg to poor circulation. Sue would apply lotion to Mom’s remaining leg and foot. And, much to my mother’s delight, even treat her to a pedicure.

Why did Jesus humbly perform the task of a household servant? A leader is usually the one who is served by others. It is because from God’s perspective, the greatest leader is the greatest servant. Lord Jesus, Almighty God in flesh, Creator of the heavens and the earth, donned a towel and washed feet.

It is why he came.[1]

This foot-washing foreshadowed a much greater washing. Within 24 hours, Jesus would hang bloody, beaten, and humiliated on the cross. The pure and sinless Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of the world—for my sin. He took the punishment for my selfishness and rebellion. My Lord washed me (and continues to wash me)—feet, hands, heart and soul.

Oh, Jesus, forgive my foolish pride.
I don’t want to serve. I want to be served. 
Thank you for serving, washing, and saving me.
Change my heart. 
Make it like yours, a heart that loves to serve. 
What greater gift can I give than to serve another in your name?

[1] Matthew 20:28 "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many and Mark 10:45
Image from: http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-washes-feet/


  1. My Dear Friend,
    The servant role opens the door to opportunity but many of us don't see it. Jesus knew. He was setting an example that the world would not understand because of selfishness. Your posting reminds me of my own mother before she died. She was no longer to walk to the bathroom. She had to wear pampers. As I was cleaning her one day, she was ashamed and I said to her Mama, you cleaned me the years when I was a baby and never complained. It is an honour to keep you clean, and I began to sing and she sang along with me. Taking care of my mother was one of the happiest times of my life, because I was in a servant role. And it has blessed me richly.
    Thank you for this wonderful post. It brought up precious memories that I have in my treasure chest.

    1. Hi, Patricia. Your post brought tears as I thought of caring for my own mother. Thank you for sharing that beautiful example of servant leadership!


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