Dear Logos Family,
“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love….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….A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:1, 4, 34-35 (NIV)
Ever since college when I first studied John 13-17, I have always been humbled by and in awe of the powerful act of servanthood Jesus demonstrated with his disciples. Washing feet was the designated task of the household servant. It was appropriate for slaves and those on the lowest rung of the social ladder, not distinguished rabbis.
Jesus turned the cultural mores on their head when he washed the disciples’ feet. Peter was repulsed by such action: “You shall never wash my feet.” Peter didn’t understand at the time what Jesus was trying to communicate. Jesus even said as much: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” V.7
Servanthood speaks a different kind of language. The world doesn’t get it. We live in an age of fair exchange. “You give me this, and I’ll give you that.” Tit-for-tat. But gospel currency doesn’t work this way. Jesus spelled it out more literally later in the chapter:
“As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:34-5
In this profound demonstration of love Jesus gave the Church its most powerful evangelistic tool – servanthood through simple acts of kindness. It worked in Jesus’ day and it still works today.
In a world that distrusts Christians and Christianity simple acts of kindness and unexpected goodness leave a cynical world speechless.
May God’s love permeate everything we say and do as Easter approaches!