Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. (John 13:3-5)
Have you ever had to wash someone? It's a very intimate act—so intimate that it makes a lot of us uncomfortable. We feel awkward—should we really be doing this? If we are on the receiving end, we may struggle to do it ourselves—simply because we have trouble receiving such an intimate act of care.
And yet so often it is necessary. If you care for small children, you know that washing them is part of their daily care. They can't handle it for themselves. The same is true if you are caring for a disabled or sick person. Because you love them, you do for them what they cannot do themselves. And if it is you who is receiving the care, you try to do so with grace and thankfulness—glad that someone loves you enough to care for you in this way.
What, then, was Jesus doing when He washed the feet of His disciples? They were neither sick nor disabled—in their own opinions, anyway. But Jesus saw the truth of their situation. Whether they needed washing desperately—the washing of the forgiveness of sins that God gives us at Baptism, and then gives us anew every time we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. They needed daily washing, just as each of us do. And Jesus was not too proud to give it.
Picture Him there, down in the darkness, dressed like a servant, washing the mud and the stink of the day off your feet. Jesus does not grudge you this. It is an intimate act of love that He performs for us—why? Because we are the people He loves and came to set free from sin and death. Because we are the people He died and rose for. Because we are the people He baptized and made into His own family, children of God.
Jesus washes you because He loves you. Never forget it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for loving me so, and help me to love my brothers and sisters in the same way. Amen.
* When did you ever wash someone else? How did it feel?
* Who has washed you, and when?
* Peter was embarrassed to let Jesus wash his feet. Would that be a problem for you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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