And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (John 13:2b-5)
I never saw this event of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet reenacted until my first year in seminary. When I heard that our Maundy Thursday service was going to include foot washing, I was more than skeptical. And when I learned that certain students would be chosen to represent the whole community, I hoped that I was not going to be one of them.
That hope was not realized; for, in fact, I was chosen to be washed by our Old Testament professor. I was uncomfortable as I walked to the designated chair, embarrassed as I took off my shoes and socks, and overwhelmed as the professor began to wash my feet. As the washing and drying unfolded, first one foot and then the other foot, I began to cry. At first, I didn’t understand why I was so deeply moved, but then I did. It was not simply the professor who was washing my feet, it was Jesus. It was not simply the student next to me who was being washed, it was Jesus. Jesus was right there in our midst; both washing and being washed.
Without in any way dismissing or diminishing all that Jesus went through during His last week, let’s not pretend that we don’t know what happened at the end of all those horrific events—that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
Because Jesus was raised, He is with us; and because He is with us, what Jesus did for those disciples, He wants to do for us. Which means that Jesus wants to wash us, just like He washed them.
As you imagine Jesus washing you during these challenging days as we face this epidemic together, what do you need for Him to wash away? Fear? Dread? Worry? Paralysis? Again, as you imagine joining Jesus in the washing party that has never ended, remember that not just your feet are in His hands, but your whole life.
When we wash ourselves, we feel renewed, restored, and refreshed. As Jesus washes you, how do you need Him to renew you with faith, restore you with courage, and refresh you with peace?
As you consider being washed by Jesus, I pray that you are filled with hope. As you contemplate being renewed, restored, and refreshed by Jesus, I pray that hope just washes over you. When our worries and anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, let Him wash some of our burdens away with His grace. When we are feeling empty and drained, let Him restore us with His presence. As you join Jesus in the washing party, don’t be surprised if tears of gratitude and joy begin to roll down your face.
- What do you hope Jesus will wash away?
- How do you need Jesus to renew, restore, and refresh you?
- When Jesus had finished washing them, He asked them to wash each other. How can we if not wash, then have holy regard for each other during this time?