It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." John 13:1-8
Would you let Jesus wash your feet? Peter wasn't going to let him until Jesus put things in perspective by saying, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
The whole story is one that needs to be explained to us even in our day. We know that the washing of feet was a customary thing done when traveling guests came to a home. Foot traffic along the trails and paths kept the dirt and sand loosened up and a lot of it got on the feet wherever people walked. Usually the lowliest servant was given the job of washing the feet of arriving guests. That makes our story even more interesting when we read about Jesus removing his outer clothing, wrapping a towel around his waist, preparing a basin of water, and starting to wash the feet of his disciples.
It's no wonder Peter didn't understand. On the surface, we might not either. It is so difficult to see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords stooping to the lowly task of washing feet, when in reality, they should be washing his.
The real lesson Jesus wanted them to learn was the lesson of serving and helping others. Remember in Philippians, Paul says when Jesus came into the world, he took on himself the form of a servant. In the story of Jesus and his disciples, he is teaching his followers a part of their ministry will be in the area of serving. This was not done just to get the disciples to be nice to each other, but in the larger picture, the concept of serving others should reach beyond the earthly ministry of Jesus and into the lives of all who would wear his name, even today.
What can you do today, to help someone? It may be some huge task where you can help, or something as small as a phone call of encouragement. Because of our varied God-given talents, there is always something we can do to be a servant to those we are commanded to love.