Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
And supper being ended,the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
We are told of only one who objected to Jesus’ washing of their feet. And from that exchange we learn to submit, completely. We do not determine what will be done nor the extent of it. Complete submission to the Lord allows him to set the limits. Washing of feet in a dry, dirty land where walking was the frequent means of getting from one place to another, was a courtesy extended to all who came into a home, occupants and guests alike. It was often done by a servant of the household providing a service and care to all. The focus was outward and Jesus came to do more than wash feet. He came to give up his life for those he loves.
He says he is setting an example for us. We are to carry the same attitude and service of concern, courtesy, and care for one another regardless of our position in any relationship. The principle of equality, oneness, unity is crucial. Jesus was and is Teacher and Lord; he points out that no servant rises above their master and no student rises above their teacher. We follow his teachings and his example without an attitude of superiority. God gives to each according to his will, we are to simply be found faithful to his will. Self so wants to rise up and be bigger and better, demand more. This can be seen in the play of young children, but it is still present in adults who compete constantly against each other for superior roles, not with each other to grow. Jesus demonstrates selflessness. The one who could claim superiority, didn’t need to, he was. God gives the glory; we serve. “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – Jesus