2008-02-20 / Religion

'Stinky Feet'

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

Of all the acts of love and humility performed by Jesus Christ, His washing of His disciples' feet is surely near the top of the list of demonstrations of His selflessactions. Not only does it give us a glimpse of Who He was, but it presents us with a challenge to follow His example. John 13:14 preserves these words of Christ: "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (NIV). Even if we do not accept this as a literal command, we cannot afford to dismiss the figurative essence of it; even if we choose not to physically wash the feet of another, there are numerous ways that we can do so through other acts of servant hood and humility.

Human feet are a part of our anatomy that we should be thankful for. Like other parts of our bodies, we usually do not give them much thought until they start to hurt or in some way do not function properly. Yet as essential as they are, feet also have some "negative" characteristics especially the feet of men who have been walking on a dusty trail. (I need not be more graphic; your imagination will fillin the details.) So for Christ to wash His disciples' feet meant that He subjected Himself to circumstances that were much less than desirable from the human perspective. Nevertheless, He used this as another opportunity to outwardly express His purpose for coming to Earth: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Indeed, an unquestionable expression of His willingness to serve others.

Luke gives us a glimpse of the vast difference between the perfect heart of God and the corrupt heart of humankind. In the same setting in which John 13 places Christ washing the disciples' feet, Luke 22 records a much different and opposite attitude among the disciples: "Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest" (22:24). Although we have more gadgets today than they did way back then, basic human nature remains the same: corrupt and selfish.This leaves no doubt that we still need a Savior to take away our sins, for surely we could never make things right with God on our own.

As we pay attention to Christ's act of washing the feet of His disciples, we would do well to consider who was in that group. Judas Iscariot was there, who betrayed Christ, resulting in His arrest, crucifixionand death. Simon Peter was there, who denied that he even knew Christ when the pressure got too

heavy for him. And the rest of

whom the Bible says "deserted Him and fled" (Matthew 26:56). In spite of what they had done or would do, Christ lovingly and humbly took on the servant's role: "So he got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him" (John 13:4-5). What a scene, as God Himself in human form washed the stinky feet of a bunch who never deserved such attention. Neither do we deserve His love, but He freely extends it to each of us.

May the words of the Lord Jesus Christ penetrate to the core of our hearts and cause us to follow His example: "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (John 13:14).

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