Sometimes we need a wake-up call that opens our eyes so we can see who we truly are. And watching someone else do what we should have done can be a most effective eye-opener. When Jesus started washing the disciples’ feet, they must have felt an instant sense of uneasiness, especially after their recent discussions about which of them was the greatest (Mark 9:34-35).
As we noted earlier, foot washing was the task of the lowest slave in the household. But since Jesus and His disciples were eating in a borrowed room, there was no slave posted at the door. All the disciples considered this job beneath them, so everyone’s feet remained filthy until Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled Himself to serve those who should have served Him. After three years of teaching and modeling humility to His disciples, Jesus finally got their attention with a towel and a bowl.
I can imagine how the disciples felt, because I remember the time a friend came to my office, wanting to wash my feet. I immediately protested, but he dropped to his knees and proceeded to take off my socks and shoes and wash my feet. He did it as an act of humble service, but I felt humiliated because in the process, I saw something in me that I didn’t like—ugly pride.
If we want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps of humility, we must do an honest self-evaluation by asking the Lord to reveal any sinful attitudes hiding in our heart. The purpose is not to make us feel worthless but to give us a yearning to become more like Christ.