We read in the thirteenth chapter of the John about Jesus’ teachable moment at the Last Supper. He and his disciples were in an upper room preparing to celebrate the Passover Meal. Jesus was aware it was near the end of his days on earth. He used the moment to teach his disciples a valuable lesson of how they should relate to others.
It was the custom in Jesus’ time to have a person’s feet washed after entering the house and before lying on their side to eat. The foot washing was often done by lowly servants.
Jesus “got up from the table, took off his outer robe , and tied towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and 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?’ ‘You will do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”’ (John 13:4-7)
“After he has washed their feet, had put on his robe, and 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 and example, that you should do as I have done to you.’” (John 13: 12-15)
The lesson Jesus taught is that as leaders we are called to be servants. We are to set aside our egos, or self-centeredness and care for one another right down to basic needs. We are blessed when we act as servants and show forth love, mercy, and justice. Servants are not greater than their masters, nor are masters greater than the one who sent them. The understanding is that God who is over all calls us to be His servants to the world. We as leaders are to exhibit self-sacrificing service in love to others. Amen.