John 13:8. Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’
A lesson in humility and love.
In this passage Jesus is speaking to Peter who cannot accept that Jesus, the Master, should serve him, the servant. But Jesus is showing Peter that He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and washing his disciples feet was just one of many ways He demonstrated this. Jesus is teaching self-sacrifice and humility in opposition to self-seeking and pride and is telling Peter that he must follow His self-humiliating love to be part of Him.
This passage can be taken literally to mean the washing of Peter’s feet, but in the Bible the word wash often symbolizes a cleansing of the soul. Jesus is also using the washing of feet to signify to the disciples that all who are spiritually washed in Him have a part, or share, in Him.
Practicing self-sacrifice and humility is hard in our culture of preoccupation with self-love and self-glory. Jesus’ servant leadership says to us that we must both accept help from and give help to others. If we are to follow Jesus, we must have a servant’s heart to serve one another in humility and build each other up in love.
Lord God we ask you to deepen our desire to follow Jesus’ example of serving others with love and humility. Help us recognize the ways you seek to minister through our lives. May we have the courage to reach out and support one another.