READ: John 13:1-17
There is power in our humility. The most impactful way to exercise humility is by serving others. Let’s turn to the Bible to find what a humble heart looks like.
Jesus and His disciples were about to partake the Passover meal. Jesus knew that His hour had come. The purpose for His coming was to take place shortly. He knew who He was. He came from the Father and was going back to Him. Jesus knew He was God and that His death on the cross was the reason He was born. Jesus also knew that He would rise again, defeating the penalty and power of sin once and for all. With this in His mind and heart, Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords did something that is absolutely remarkable. Jesus rose from supper, laid aside his outer garments, girded Himself with a towel, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet.
This act of humility was amazing for a number of reasons. First of all, it was the practice of the lowest servant to receive the guests entering the house to wash their dirty, dusty feet. It was an act of honor and love. Jesus had no problem doing the work of the lowest of servants. Jesus did not teach the disciples humility by scheduling a servant to show them while He spoke about it. Rather, Jesus acted on what He believed. He practiced what He preached.
Secondly, the humility of Jesus was selfless. He knew that His hour had come. He did not demand His disciples to serve Him, give Him the extra food, wash His feet, make Him comfortable. He sure had the right to demand them knowing that He would be suffering in a little while. Jesus was also showing how faithful He was. Think about it: He not only knew that He would be suffering on the cross, but He knew that Judas would betray Him and all of His disciples would be forsaking Him in the most needed time of His life on earth. Yet, Jesus knelt down and held each foot that needed a washing, though He knew that each foot would walk away from Him during the darkest time of His life. What amazing love and amazing grace!
A reasonable question is, “Why didn’t the disciples wash Jesus’ feet? Why wouldn’t they think of it?” When Jesus did wash the disciples’ feet, it certainly “struck a nerve.” Peter felt uncomfortable that Jesus would do such a thing, since Jesus alone deserved to be served. The humility of Jesus exposed their proud and arrogant hearts. After all, Luke 22:24 states that during the Passover meal, there was a dispute between the disciples as to who was the greatest. Jesus went on to say that the one who leads, the one who is greater in position and authority, is the one who should serve. The world wants to be served; God’s kingdom says otherwise.
How interesting it is to see that Jesus took the position to serve at the place where so many came to hear His word: at His feet. The one who deserved to be served was the one who served. Peter never forgot this moment; Jesus showed by example what it meant to serve others. Peter says, “be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Remember, there is power in our humility and it is best shown by serving others. Is there something that is below your “pay grade?” When God calls you to serve, do you give Him limits? Have you become too important to do the dirty work? Have you become insensitive to the needs of people around you? Has power, position, and prestige taken the place of pure servanthood? Become great by becoming like Jesus. In humility, serve others. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).