The Humble King
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 72:1-7 | 2 Samuel 2:12-3:39 | John 13:1-30 | Proverbs 15:29-30
Today’s Scripture Focus: John 13:1-30
When Jesus had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:12-15 NIV)
He was clear about his position. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” But that didn’t keep the King of Kings and Lord of Lords from taking the place of a servant.
In a day of sandals and dirt roads made for walking, foot washing was a common practice. The servant of the house would be expected to be the “foot washer.” It was a job for servants, a rather unpleasant and undoubtedly smelly job requiring a great deal of humility.
Jesus knew all that, of course. So did the disciples. It made for a powerful teachable moment. He would demonstrate his love for them and give them an unforgettable lesson in humility. The King, the Lord, the Teacher would wash the feet of his subjects, his servants, his students.
It was a lesson that Jesus repeatedly taught the disciples. It’s not an easy one to learn. But he demonstrated it repeatedly. It was humility that brought him to earth in the first place; humility that caused him to be born a baby; humility that caused him to take on human flesh; humility that would soon be most fully demonstrated by his death on the cross.
The way of greatness in the kingdom is found in the towel. It is the way of the King who humbles himself to meet the needs of the servant. It is an example he intended for us to follow.