Acts of Service

John 13

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

Starting in John 13, we are in the final countdown to Jesus’ crucifixion. It was the last time He would be with His disciples in fellowship before they all scatter and forsake Him. What do we find Jesus doing in these final hours? Washing His disciples’ feet. Let’s understand what it meant for Jesus to wash the feet of His followers.

Obviously, this was long before cars and other means of transportation, so these men had only open sandals for shoes and their own two feet for travel. The amount of dirt on our feet today is nothing in comparison to how these guys feet would have looked. So, it was customary for the lowest of the household, or servant, to wash the guests’ feet, especially for a formal event such as this. It was an act of service for your guest.  However, they went through an entire dinner without someone washing their feet. Perhaps none of the disciples wanted to stoop down to that level? Maybe it was too embarrassing for them to wash each other’s feet?

Well, here we find Jesus setting aside his garments, wrapping a towel around Himself, filling up the basin with water, and beginning to wash their feet. (verse 4-5, my paraphrase). Of anyone sitting at that table, Jesus was not the one to be washing feet. But in His unending love for them, He wanted to exemplify how they ought to treat others- humbly serving them. 

Jesus acted first, spoke second. His actions were followed with a new commandment, “love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (verse 34) He is basically saying, recall on the times I have shown My love for you through My actions and use that as your base for reaching others. He goes even further to say that the world will know them as His disciples by showing love for one another (verse 35). Not only will showing God’s love to people reach them, but we will be set apart as followers of Christ through that very same love. 

This lesson is simple yet profound: Serve one another in love and God will be able to reach the unreachable. Serving is not always fun and can be quite arduous, but we need to remember who we are truly serving: God. And who better to serve than the One who laid His own life down for our redemption? 

Take the extra minute in your prayers this week to ask the Lord to reveal moments that you can serve humbly. Maybe it will be for your fellow coworker, or your neighbor, or the Starbucks barista, or your spouse. No matter what the outcome may be with that person, we know that it brings our Lord joy when we serve His children in His name.

be free. xo



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