Daily D – John 13:8
“You will never wash my feet,” Peter said.
JOHN 13:8 (CSB)
There was no servant in the room to wash the disciples’ feet. There was no disciple in the room willing to serve by washing the others’ feet. Jesus, God with Us, served his disciples by washing their feet.
It appears from this distance that it was a stunned and silent event as Jesus moved from one disciple to another. “He came to Simon Peter, who asked him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (verse 6). The Message helps us feel the emotion of the moment when it paraphrases Peter’s response this way:
Peter and his partners experienced a shock of insight.
Jesus responded by saying, “What I’m doing you don’t realize now, but afterward you will understand,” (verse 7). Peter protested that Jesus would never wash his feet (verse 8). Jesus returned the volley with an important response when he said, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.”
Peter could have left it right there. He could have stopped talking. Instead, he did what we often do. He had to say something. He wanted to have the last word. Leaders are like that. They say what needs to be said and others do what needs to be done.
“Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head,” (verse 9).
Jesus, the One True Leader in the room, responded directly and kindly. “One who has bathed doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean,” (verse 10).
Baptism symbolizes the washing away of sin. Just as salvation is a one-time experience with continuing results, so is baptism. Footwashing is about fellowship. Those who choose to live as followers of Jesus and brothers and sisters in the family of God serve one another down to the most menial matters. Whatever it takes to stay together, they are willing and ready to do.
Peter wanted a second cleansing. Jesus wanted Peter and his Pals to serve one another as he had just served them.
How do we know someone is a great leader? Great leaders serve. Great leaders do not protest too much. Great leaders assess the circumstances and take appropriate actions which honor God and bless others. Great leaders lead like Jesus.
Kneeling at another person’s feet allows us to look in only one direction at others and that is up. Great leaders do not look down on anyone.
You and I can become great leaders today. We do not require advanced degrees, specialized certifications, or positions of prominence to become so. We simply need to start at the feet and work up from there. Remember to reverse direction if ever you begin to look down and seek the service of others.
I will look up in service to others.
Our Father, flip my leadership pyramid. I like to think I’m at the top. Remind me as often as is necessary to begin at the bottom and to look up in service to others. May it be that as John the Baptizer said in John 3:30, others will see more of Jesus and less of me. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.