Verses 4-5 tell us that He got up, took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water in the basin, and . . . "began to wash the disciples' feet."
Whoa. If you had been in that room, would your jaw have dropped? Do you think some of theirs did?
Jesus didn't lecture them -- He gave them an example.
Everybody could see the problem. It was obvious to all of them. It's hard NOT to see what's wrong in situations like this. It's as if we are all spectators, looking at the problem. But who does something about it?
Jesus met the need -- He took action to solve the problem, instead of just looking at the problem.
Look at all of the action words here!
He "got up from the meal." He left a comfortable spot, with good food to eat. How many times do we fight with ourselves, when it is time to leave our comfort zone? When it's time to make our body do something we might not really want to do? When the alarm goes off (this is just one example that really resonates with me) and it is time to get out of bed and read the Bible and pray, do our bodies want to get up? Do we have lengthy discussions and finally convince those bodies to get up and meet with our Lord? Or do the bodies win, and we stay in bed, and then rush and fret the rest of the day, since we didn't prepare for a day with His help?
He "took off His outer clothing." If we are going to do a good job of serving others, we probably will have to lay something else aside. We all live with a full plate of activities. There are so many demands on our time . . . if we are going to add a service for someone else, we may have to subtract something that we'd like to do for ourselves. We may have to deny ourselves something, in order to have the energy and the time to give to others.
Then, He wrapped a towel around His waist, after that He poured water into a basin." What we see Jesus doing here is making the right preparations, in order to meet the need. It may be that we need to spend time in prayer before giving to others, and solving a problem. It might be that we need to study and let the Spirit guide us, in preparation for what we need to do. Ask God to help you prepare to meet the needs that you see.
And then . . . 'He began..." When we see a problem, at some point we must begin. We can think about it, and pray about it. We can make the preparations -- but at some point we must step forward and begin. Jesus washed the disciples' feet and dried them with a towel.
Did you see Peter's response? Sometimes I just love reading about Peter, because every so often I do something impulsive, or blurt out what's in my head without thinking, and Peter just makes me feel a little better.
Jesus wants to wash Peter's feet, and Peter doesn't want Him to do it. Then all of a sudden he wants a full bath! It took Peter a while to learn that none of us have a better idea than Jesus. The best thing we can possibly do is to simply listen, hear Him and obey Him. Peter eventually learned to simply obey the Lord, rather than offer a better idea. We all have to learn that at some point.
Another thing we have to learn is that people would much rather see us show them "how" instead of telling them "how." If they see us do it, they will listen to what we have to say. But if we can't do it, or we won't do it, then they won't pay much attention to us.
John says in verse one, "Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed the full extent of His love." In the upper room, Jesus was expressing His love for His disciples, and He was taking time to prepare them for what was ahead.
He saw the dirty feet. But instead of just looking at the problem, He solved it!
Later on the cross He would offer the ultimate expression of His love for all of us. “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
That’s what Jesus has done for you and me.