Daily Devotion - Thursday, March 24, 2016
13:5 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. 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"13:7 Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."13:8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
- John 13:5-9
I was leading a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico several years ago, and we decided to introduce foot washing into one of the worship experiences we were creating for the teens on the trip. The idea behind it was to give them an intimate experience of what it's like to both serve and be served.
At the conclusion of one of our worship services one night we told the kids about our plan. We informed them that they would not only have their feet washed, they would be washing someone else's feet as well. I was going to start by picking someone and then washing their feet, then they would in turn pick someone else.
There was a kid on the trip that year, who had the worst smelling feet known to man. His foot odor was so strong it would fight its way through his shoes and into the surrounding atmosphere, fouling it something fierce. As I stood there explaining what we were about to do, I was struck by the notion that I was supposed to wash his feet first. I struggled with this notion, which I suspected came from God, who seemed to love messing with me like that.
But in the end, I did it. Against my will, I knelt in front of the young man and washed his filthy, stinky feet. He was overwhelmed to be chosen first to experience that kind of grace. It was a moment that broke our group. Because deep inside every single person in the room had been thinking, "Please God, don't make me have to wash that guy's feet." And then when it happened, it created a moment where they simply loved the kid and one another.
Did I mention that the kid's name was Peter? Yeah. You can't make that stuff up.
On that first Maundy Thursday, when Jesus washed the feet of disciples, it forced them to receive his selfless, sacrificial act of grace and radical humility. It also served as a sign and symbol of what Jesus was about to endure for the sake of all Creation. What Jesus knew was that it would change them forever.
Because of that moment, the disciples came to realize that the Way of Jesus is marked by radical acts of humility and grace, the kind of acts that transform sinners and embolden saints--the kinds of acts that can change the world.
May you have an intimate knowledge of the great and wonderful grace, the radical humility of Christ toward you. May you in turn discover radical, selfless ways to serve the world, and transform not only yourself, but everyone you meet. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.