Washing Feet

Thursday, Oct. 9

The last supper is recounted in all four gospels. Each writer’s account is varied, some with more details, each perhaps with a different focus. No doubt their accounts were written at different times, with a somewhat different audience and perhaps a different set of circumstances. The last supper celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called the Passover. It is no accident that the core of this celebration involved the sacrificial lamb. Jesus would be that Lamb. In this setting three things stand out as key events: the use of bread and wine to picture the Lamb that was to be slain the next day (although the disciples were seemingly unaware of it), the exposure of Judas Iscariot as Christ’s betrayer, and the prediction of Peter’s denial. I don’t want to elaborate here on the differences in the four writings, or the three common themes, or on the lengthy upper room discourse in John 13-17. I want to focus on the washing of the disciples’ feet, an event recorded only in John. Why did Jesus do this and how were the disciples impacted by it? Why is it not in the synoptic gospels? Biblical scholars have several varying views of this: He was teaching them how to be good servants. He was countering their desire to be great in the kingdom. It was a lesson on humility. It had to do with how to deal with daily sins. The disciples did not really “believe.” I finally discovered something in John 13:1. Jesus declares His purpose point blank. He wanted them to understand how much He loved them! So He demonstrated it. No doubt the other “reasons” still hold, but all of them have to be built on the reality of Jesus’ love. Do yourself a favor and meditate on this awhile. I guarantee you will be enlightened and blessed.

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