Working with the local school at putting on a musical and helping to build the sets has emphasized to me the benefit of demonstrating what you want done. It is so much easier to act out a role or construct a wall when someone else presents an example of what it should be like. The example sets the pattern. You simply imitate what was done.
At the house of the Pharisee a sinful woman washed the feet of Jesus as an expression of devotion. At the Last Supper with his disciples Jesus washed the feet of his followers as an expression of service. These acts of humility and compassion in both cases were examples and demonstrations to all who would follow Jesus.
What does Jesus remind them of in verse 13? What does he tell them to do? What does he point out in verse 17?
In spite of the fact that the disciples were not worthy and we are not worthy Jesus went beyond washing feet. He sacrificed himself on the cross, washing not our feet but our souls. He accepted us as sinners and welcomed us in his kingdom.
Whenever we are confronted with someone we may consider sinful and unworthy we should recall what Jesus did. He lowered himself to the position of the lowest of servants, performing a task that no one wants to do. But he did it out of compassion and love, and he did it because he accepted the disciples even though they were sinful.
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Does this mean Jesus wants us to make certain everyone has clean feet? Of course not. What he wants – the example he set – was that we should humble ourselves and be accepting of others even when they are sinful and may be considered unworthy. We are to accept others in love and compassion and humility, and invite them in to the kingdom of God rather than shun them and keep them out.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Whose feet do you need to wash?