In John 13, we move from Mary’s humble actions at the table where Jesus reclined to Jesus’ humble service of washing the disciples’ feet just days later. When the disciples are bickering about who would be the greatest among them in the kingdom of God, Mary humbles herself and washes Jesus’ feet. Later in the week, Jesus would show His disciples selfish desires or vain conceit would not be the key to greatness. The one who humbles himself and serves others will be the greatest.
“The time had come for Jesus to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” – John 13:1.
Washed by Jesus
At the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus shows He did not come to be served but to serve. Jesus gives the disciples a picture of humility and service that is to be their standard for the rest of their life – He washes their feet. When Jesus approaches Peter, Peter is appalled that his Master would want to wash his feet. Listen to Jesus’ words, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” The greatest service Jesus provides for people comes as He ransoms His life. Unless we are washed by Jesus, we will not have life. Unless we believe and know Jesus is the only One who can cleanse us from our sin, we will never be able to come to the Father.
Forgive the Sinners
I do not want us to miss one important piece of information. Jesus also washes the feet of Judas Iscariot. Jesus is fully aware that Judas is the one who would betray him as he states so clearly in John 13. Yet, Jesus serves even the one who sought to hand Him over to His adversaries. I am not sure if you have ever encountered someone who maliciously sought you harm. If you have, you understand the action of Jesus here. To humble yourself before those who seek to kill and destroy is an amazing act of service and love. We even see this as Christ is being crucified. In Luke 23:34 Jesus says. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Salvation is what Jesus brings; salvation to sinners is His to give. It is the will of the Father for the innocent to be given for the guilty. Jesus’ cry, “Father forgive them” is precisely why Jesus’ life is poured out so that we can be washed and come to the Father radiant and resplendent.
May we not forget this Christmas season we are Judas Iscariot. We are willing to choose sin over Christ. We are the soldiers who put Christ on the cross and divide His garments. If it was not for the Suffering Servant who humbled Himself to serve us, we would die in our sin and be apart from Him forever.