Read John 13
Long ago and far away, I learned how to teach and train. The standard was LDA. That’s lecture, discussion, and application. Later on, in other studies, I learned four basic modes of teaching and training: Audio, Visual, Tactile, and kinesthetic.
I’m sure there are new names now, warm and fuzzy names, but that’s the way I learned them. You talk and discuss, demonstrate, practice hands on, and sometimes you go with the flow and if you’re the instructor, you sometimes must create the flow.
Who’d a thunk it? Jesus knew how to engage his followers with all these methods.
His hour had come. We are not talking 60 minutes, but time was short. Jesus was headed to the cross to die for our sins in a very short time.
His hour had come. What do you do when you don’t have much time left on this earth? You eat.
Jesus and his disciples were gathered for a meal. It was the evening meal. Maybe it would be just a little time to relax. Maybe it would be something like the time at the Jordan when people were not hounding Jesus with all sorts of questions. Maybe it would be a time just for Jesus and his disciples.
It was, but it surely was not what any of the disciples had expected. Jesus stood up. He took off his outer clothing. He wrapped a towel around his waist and filled a basin of water.
That surely got everyone’s attention but what he did next had them dumbfounded. He started going around the room washing the feet of his disciples.
Hold your holy horses right there. Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Messiah. He is surely the guest of honor at this meal as well. This is some kind of joke, right? Jesus was having some fun, right?
Maybe he was. Nothing says that learning can’t be fun and this was first-hand and first-rate education. Servants, not masters, wash feet; yet, sure enough that was Jesus making his way around the room.
Peter would have none of this. If the rest of the disciples wouldn’t put a stop to this nonsense, he would. Lord, are you really going to wash my feet?
Jesus told Peter that he didn’t understand at that moment but that later he would. It probably seemed like the math teacher telling the kid that asks, when will we ever use this stuff, that they would later in life. Math teachers may have to be natural-born liars to keep their kid’s interest.
Not really—2020 got them off the hook. Who would have thought that someone would be using the parabolic formula and standard deviations even on Sesame Street? To flatten the curve, you have to have a curve to flatten.
People are bad-mouthing 2020 but this is the year of redemption for the math teachers of the world.
Back to washing feet. Jesus told Peter, you will understand this later, but Peter still wanted none of it. No! You are not washing my feet. That dog don’t hunt. This is all upside down.
Jesus said a lot in a few words. You don’t want this, you don’t want me.
Ouch! Peter didn’t come this far to get disqualified on a bathing technicality. He wanted a full bath. Scrub extra behind the ears.
Jesus told Peter if you already had a bath, all you needed was to wash your feet. These were not last-minute hygiene details for the people who didn’t wash their hands as often as some of the hypocrites thought they should.
This was not a tactile and kinesthetic technique inserted at the last minute due to a shortage of sanitizer dispensers in the first century.
This was you have been with me and learned from me and when the Spirit comes it will all make sense. I just need to put a few things into perspective before I go.
There’s the comment that I’m sure John felt obliged to put in this part of his gospel. You are clean, well almost all of you are clean. Even Lava with pumice wouldn’t get Judas clean. So as far as cleanliness went, 11 out of 12 were clean.
But Jesus was modeling service not hygiene. He said, you know me as Teacher and Lord and those are appropriate titles but they do not define what I came to do.
Titles, rank, status did not restrict what Jesus came to do. He came to serve and save.
He did not come to be served—though he could have insisted on that without any fault in the demand. He came to serve.
Jesus told his disciples that if their leader can model servanthood in this way, they should not think it beneath them. Go and do likewise.
This was not the beginning of the first century clean feet movement. This was about humbling yourself and serving others.
You don’t serve very well if you are arrogant.
God’s love in action most often manifests itself in service and giving and not letting our titles and status get in our way of loving God by serving each other, even the least of these among us.
When we think of God not giving us a spirit of fear, we must not be afraid to mix it up with the least of these our brothers and sisters. We open doors when we serve. People hear our message when we show God’s love in our service.
The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. We are to do likewise.