Jn.13:1 – Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
One of the most beautiful and actually shocking characteristics of Jesus was His amazing humility. It is impossible to exaggerate His greatness so pride really doesn’t come into play; He is greater than anyone can fathom. When He was approaching His greatest triumph and His greatest test, He humbled Himself again. Already infinite condescension is on display in Christ by becoming a man. God became a man- unthinkable. Now, He takes it further and puts Himself in the role of a slave and displays His love for us by washing our feet. In this life, the lesser serves the greater; the slaves serve the rich and powerful. In His world it is not so; the powerful serve the weak and helpless. Here is how Barclay describes this scene:
“Jesus knew all things had been given into his hands. He knew that his hour of humiliation was near, but he knew that his hour of glory was also near. Such a consciousness might well have filled him with pride; and yet, with the knowledge of the power and the glory that were his, he washed his disciples’ feet. At that moment when he might have had supreme pride, he had supreme humility.
Love is always like that. When, for example, people fall ill, those who love them will perform the most menial services and delight to do them, because love is like that. Sometimes people feel that they are too distinguished to do the humble things, too important to do some menial task. Jesus was not like that. He knew that he was Lord of all, and yet he washed his disciples’ feet.”
I think this act of humility shocked the disciples more than anything else Christ had done. They were just beginning to wrap their heads wrapped around His greatness and now this; He dressed like a slave and began washing filthy feet. The amazing thing about this act is that it led into His teaching on the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit continues His ministry of humility. He is daily washing us through and through with His presence. Let Him come near to you today. He will wash away your past and your pain and make all things new.