It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:1-5 (CSB)
The Last Meal
There are countless examples of Christ humbly serving humanity throughout the four gospels. My personal favorite, however, is the story of Christ washing the disciples’ feet. In the disciple’s minds, this was just another Passover meal. They had no idea this would be their last meal with their beloved Jesus. They didn’t know, but John tells us that Jesus did.
I cannot fathom the range of emotions Jesus must have felt looking around that table; surrounded by the men he “loved to the end”. As they ate, talked, and walked through the Passover readings and responses, what was on His mind? Was He thinking back to the day He called each of them, the conversations they shared, the sacred moments and the silly? Perhaps He was mourning that they would never sit like this again, this side of heaven, that His time with them on Earth had been so short. He knew better than all of them the joy and hope that awaited them on the other side of the cross, but He also knew for a time, His sheep would be scattered and afraid.
John does not tell us exactly what Christ was thinking during the meal, but he does give us a powerful insight towards the end meal, in verse three: “Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God”.
Christ, knowing the fullness of His power and glory felt compelled, not to lord these things over His disciples or demand they serve Him, but to display His great love for them one more time before His death, by stooping low to serve them. This verse speaks so clearly of Christ’s humility, which comes from a deep confidence in His true identity and sacred mission. The same is true for us.
Our True Identity
In Colossians 3:12-13 Paul reveals our true identity in Christ, as “God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved” and then says our response to this truth should be to “put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” As Christians, we are called to be like Christ, a humble servant. We are expected to serve those around us, even those who would betray us, not considering ourselves better than others.
We are called to live our lives with Christ-like humility. A humility which says, “I am a Child of God, holy and dearly loved. Knowing who I am, I do not puff myself up with pride, but humbly stoop low to display God’s love through service, unity, and forgiveness.”
What would this look like in your life today? Do you believe you are who God says you are? Do you understand the humble life He has called you to? Who might you serve today, in love and humility?
Pray this with me: Father God, we come to you today confessing our pride and desire to be served. Help us to live as you lived, humbly, pouring out our lives as an offering for you and those you love. May we believe we are who you say we are and live as if it is true. Amen.