The end was near, when Jesus would speak the words, “It is finished,” and die for the sins of the world. He prepared his disciples now for what would follow, “that he had come from God and was going back to God” (John 13:3), so he grabbed a towel and began washing his disciples’ feet. Peter, believing it undignified of Jesus to play the servant (because he thought himself undignified if he had done the same), told Jesus to stop, but Jesus corrected him. “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me” (John 13:8); if you are to be like me, Peter, you will serve others like I have served you (John 13:15).
Jesus explained he would soon leave them, and “where I am going you cannot come” (John 13:33). Last words are important words, and none more important than what followed, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Peter missed the last words and returned to the first, “Lord, where are you going?” (John 13:36).
How like Peter we are, questioning and bickering at the incidentals, missing the very things he told us to do, to serve others, to love one another. And we wonder at the world’s difficulty in recognizing his disciples.
God, Almighty, Powerful, Wonderful, and Wise, You are worthy of all praise. The whole world sings of Your glory.
And you got down on your knees and washed my feet.
And you got up on a cross and died in my place.
May I have that same attitude, one of humility and service. One of sacrifice. One of love. May the world know that You are God, my God, because I show them the same love You have shown me.