I always feel overwhelmed with thankfulness when I think of how Jesus poured Himself out into the lives of others in love and power at a time when He knew He was only days away from facing the cruelty of the cross.
He had said of Himself: "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). One way He demonstrated this, on the night of His last supper with His disciples, was by washing their feet. They had walked quite some distance that day - most of it uphill, and probably along dusty and rocky paths. Their feet were probably not only dirty, but also tired and aching.
Jesus took upon Himself the task of the lowliest servant, and washed the weary feet of the men who had walked all the long way with Him thus far. Little did they forsee that they would soon forsake the One who served them so - and who was about to sacrifice His life in an even more painful and profound way.
At first Peter protested, but Jesus replied, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me." The reason? There is only One who can truly wash us clean of all the collected detritus of our sin-infected lives.
Jesus, in His great love, still "washes our feet". When it seems that the road we have walked has been long and rocky, leaving us aching with the weariness of it all, He invites us into communion with Him - and there He washes us in His cleansing, refreshing, restoring love.
He also extends a further invitation: He invites us to follow Him, and in our turn to lay down our lives in His service to others. In this way, we too, get to "wash the feet" of others, with the love of Jesus.
In keeping with this message, I re-post here the poem I shared at Easter time last year:
© Avril VanderMerwe
Like the grime of an ancient traveler
At the end of the footsore day
I have accumulated on my feet
The dust of roads I have trod.
Step after step-chafed blisters have
Broken to leak muddied tears
Along trails ragged with bruised
Hope urging me on one more climb
To the cool space of an upper room.
Pierced hands pierce the gloom.
A splash of water pools my feet.
Washed by love on bended knees. I weep.