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.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
In Chapter 13 of John's Gospel we see Jesus giving a farewell message to his disciples during his final Passover meal, at what what we call the 'Last Supper'. He is completely sure in his own mind that his death is approaching fast, and that he is shortly to return to his Father. So this is his last few hours with the disciples who have been with him for three years.
This poignant scene has so much to teach us, but not just about the introduction of the Communion Service (ie the 'Eucharist', or 'Mass'), but also about something much less elevated. This little incident of the Messiah washing his disciples' feet teaches us as, well as his disciples, about the importance of humility. The disciples must have been completely shocked when Jesus took a towel and a wash basin and began to wash their feet. After all it was the work of a servant to wash the feet of guests when they arrived with dirty feet from travelling the dusty roads in sandals. Since there appears to be no servant present, and the disciples seem too proud to do this menial task, Jesus takes over.
The Saviour of the world was not too proud to humble himself and serve his disciples. How might this lesson affect our life today?
You were not too proud
to do the work of a servant,
and in doing so
gave us an example
of how we should live our lives.
May we learn to put others
now and in the future.
What does 'humility' mean for a Christian, and how might we attain it? Look up this article: