This portrays a powerful and profound moment during the Last Supper when Jesus demonstrates humility and servant leadership to His disciples. This passage holds essential lessons for us as we strive to follow the example of our Savior.
Verse 3 begins, "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God..." In this verse, John sets the stage for the extraordinary act of humility that follows. Despite Jesus' divine authority and awareness of His divine origin and destination, He chooses to perform a humble act of service to His disciples.
Applying this verse to our lives, we are reminded of the paradox of Christ's nature: fully divine yet fully human. Jesus, as the Son of God, possesses all authority and power, but He willingly lays aside His status to serve others. This should inspire us to embrace humility and servant leadership in our own lives, recognizing that true greatness comes from serving others.
Verse 4 continues, "he got up from the supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist." Here, we witness the profound image of Jesus, the Son of God, taking on the role of a humble servant by washing the disciples' feet.
Applying this verse to our lives, we are challenged to follow Jesus' example of humble service. Just as He laid aside His outer garments, we must set aside any pride, selfishness, or self-centeredness that hinders us from serving others. Instead, we are called to put on the "towel of humility" and take up the mantle of service to those around us.
Verse 5 describes Jesus' actions further: "Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." Jesus' act of washing the disciples' feet, a task typically reserved for the lowest servants, demonstrates the depth of His love and willingness to stoop down to the lowliest position for the sake of His followers.
Applying this verse to our lives, we learn that true leadership is not about exerting authority or seeking recognition, but rather about selfless service to others. Jesus, as our ultimate example of leadership, shows us that leadership is found in humble service and sacrificial love.
Throughout the Bible, we find other examples of humble and servant-hearted leaders. In Philippians 2:5-8, the Apostle Paul exhorts believers to follow Christ's example of humility: "Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross." Jesus' humility and sacrificial love ultimately led Him to the cross, where He gave His life for the redemption of humanity.
Returning to John 13:3-5, Jesus' act of washing the disciples' feet leads to a profound teaching in verses 12-17. After washing their feet, Jesus says, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me, 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
Applying this teaching to our lives, we are called to emulate Jesus' humble and servant-hearted approach in our relationships with one another. We are not to seek positions of power or prestige but, instead, to humbly serve and care for one another.
In conclusion, John 13:3-5 portrays a powerful and transformative moment during the Last Supper when Jesus exemplifies humble service to His disciples. Despite His divine authority, Jesus takes on the role of a humble servant and washes the disciples' feet. This act of love and humility challenges us to follow Jesus' example, setting aside pride and self-centeredness to serve others. As we take up the "towel of humility," may we learn to lead through servant-heartedness and sacrificial love, just as our Savior did. Let us remember Jesus' words: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." May we find true blessedness in following His example and living a life marked by humble service and love for one another.
John 13:3-5. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God, arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.