Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
John 13:1-17, 31b-35 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And 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. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In Jesus’ life this is the last time he would fellowship with the disciples before his Crucifixion. The events we read about in this passage are “The Beginning of the End.” John’s Gospel does not outline the events of the meal as the other Gospels. John instead emphasizes the compassion and altruistic nature of Jesus, the servant Christ through the washing of the disciples’ feet. Verse one of our scripture selection notes that Jesus, knowing his time was fulfilled, continued to love his own even “to the end.” Reading further in John, we can be comforted with the words of Jesus as he prayed to the Father on behalf of the disciples and all believers (John 17).
As Jesus carefully and tenderly washed the dust from the feet of his disciples, Peter overcome with the irony of the situation, realized he was the one who should wash the feet of his Master. Jesus understood why Peter should feel compelled to wash his feet, but assured him this was the way it had to be. I can just hear Peter exclaim, “Not just my feet, but my hand and head as well” (I could also imagine Peter even crying out ‘Give me a Shower then.’)
After the events of the meal, (and Judas doing his thing) Jesus had a moment of final instruction with the eleven remaining disciples. He gives them a final commandment – to love one another just as he has loved them. The Latin word for Commandment is mandatum. You may be familiar with words in English using the root of mandatum. The word Maundy also comes from this Latin word. Maundy Thursday is a special day, a holy day even, for Christians because it gives us reason to pause and reflect on the servanthood and the final command of Jesus before his death.
Compassionate God, Mend our hearts, so we will be willing to love others, even if it means washing feet, as Jesus commanded.
Go with God!