Recently someone asked me,
That is something to think about isn’t it? Especially when you consider the context of feet washing in their day. It was one of the most menial tasks for the servant who got all the jobs no one else wanted to do. People’s main mode of travel was walking. Some would have donkeys, camels or horses, but most could not afford them, so they walked. They did not have nice paved sidewalks to walk along, it was dry dusty roads often covered by dung from the well to do travelers’ donkeys, camels and horses. The nasty dust and dirt from the roads would cling to the sweaty feet of the travelers. We must remember of course that they did not wear Nike shoes with comfy socks to absorb the sweat.
It was so important to have their feet washed. Especially as you consider how they sat for dinner. They did not sit at dinner tables with high chairs like we have today. They would sit on the floor at lower tables so their feet would be right next to the guest next to them. How nasty that would be to not have your feet washed. This is the context and setting when Jesus, the King of Kings, took the opportunity to show his disciples the heart of a true servant. How powerfully humbling that would of been. Smelling the nasty sweaty feet as you sat down to eat dinner and knowing that you were too prideful to humble yourself to serve. And then Jesus, the King of Kings, washing their feet one by one. Wow! Jesus was secure enough to serve. it says in John 13:3-5,
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Jesus was secure enough in his identity to stoop down and do the most menial task, wash feet. We need to follow in Christ’s footsteps and know who we are in him and commit to a lifestyle of servant hood. We say we want to be like Jesus. When we say this do we have in mind that Jesus did the dirty jobs.