Imagine if you came to my home and I said, “Can I take your coat? Get you something to drink? Give you a pedicure?” Now, after asking me to repeat myself to make sure you’d heard correctly, you would probably wonder about that last one.
In our culture, it’s good manners to welcome someone by offering a beverage and to take their coat. In Jesus’ day, however, it was considered polite and good mannered to wash a guest’s feet.
And if you think you have stinky feet today, just imagine what it must have been like back then. With sandals or barefoot being the norm to get everywhere, I can only imagine the smell. Dirt, mud, dust, combined with sweat and more disgusting things. You can begin understand why washing a guest’s feet was an act of hospitality. Yet, because of the nature of the task, it was humiliating and therefore delegated to slaves and servants.
Yet Jesus did this for his disciples. After the final meal with his friends, Jesus got down on his hands and knees to wash feet. The King of Kings washing dirty, stinky feet. Right before this his disciples had argued about power and who was the greatest. But he wanted to show them—in a very tangible and concrete way—how to be truly great: by serving others. He did the humbling, thankless, dirty job that no one likes to do. He loved others by sacrificing himself to meet their needs.
Today, we’re challenged to show others the love of Jesus. Find a way to “wash their feet.” Notice someone’s need and simply meet it.