For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve,
and give his life as a ransom for many.
Have you ever gone hiking along dusty trails or worked outside in the heat of summer and gotten dirty? I’m not talking about needing to wash your hands dirty, I mean grimy, dusty, “I can’t wait to get in a shower” dirty. Now think about that feeling as a way of life. Walking along roads of dirt and stone either barefoot or with open sandals on your feet you were grimy all the time. Besides occasionally bathing in a lake or stream the only relief you had was to wash your feet, or have them washed by a servant in the home where you were visiting.
How would you like to be that servant, kneeling before men who had a higher position than you, carefully removing the dusty, perhaps mud-covered sandals and immersing their feet into a basin of clear, cool water. For the recipient this was a soothing, refreshing gesture but for the servant it was humiliating. It was one of the worst jobs a person could have.
Now imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples. For three years or so you had walked with Jesus, listening as He taught and watching as he healed the sick and returned dignity to those whose lifestyles brought them shame. You believe He is God’s Son, just s He says and has the power to forgive sins. There s no one greater in your eyes than Jesus.
Then one day as you join Jesus for the Passover celebration—the most holy and special meal of the year—you watch Him remove His outer cloak and gather together a towel and basin of water. Soon He is kneeling before you preparing to remove your sandals.
You try to protest, but Jesus won’t hear of it. He washes your feet, then the feet of every other person in the room.
Suddenly your world is turned upside down. Everything you’ve ever thought about leadership and power has now been reduced to this. The most powerful man you know has just lowered Himself to the place of a servant and calls you to do the same.
This is the Jesus who wants a relationship with each one of us. While He is God and already knows everything about us He relates to us on our level—if we allow Him to.
Jesus was born in a smelly, cold stable among the animals and common folk to show us from the beginning of our lives how important our lives are to Him. He doesn’t look down on us with judgment and wrath if we are choosing to follow Him. Instead He reaches out to help us. He strengthens us where we are weak and loves us in the midst of our mess-ups.
Jesus expects us to do the same. Throughout the days leading to Christmas, lets examine how we can serve others. Let’s keep our eyes open for unexpected opportunities and serve with a cheerful spirit in the name of Jesus. You never know whose life might change because of your gesture.