John 13:4,5 Jesus rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
This is one of the most stunning scenes in the Bible. The King of Glory in the role of a servant, it doesn’t get any more radical than that. Remember, Jesus is the Creator and Sovereign Ruler over all things. For Him to enter into creation as a man is amazing, to live as the son of common village people is unthinkable; for Him to take the role of a servant and wash dirty fishermen’s feet, that is very hard to imagine. It was hard for Peter to imagine. Peter resisted until he was sharply corrected by the Lord. “Never shall you wash my feet”, Peter declared. Jesus’s response showed His actions were about more than dirty feet, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me”.
Jesus was actually displaying the powerful future ministry of the Holy Spirit with His actions. The Holy Spirit washes and renews us from the effect of sin. Here are some observations on this incredible act by Matthew Henry.
“Christ manifested his love to them by washing their feet, as that good woman (Luke vii. 38) showed her love to Christ by washing his feet and wiping them. Thus he would show that as his love to them was constant so it was condescending,— that in prosecution of the designs of it he was willing to humble himself,—and that the glories of his exalted state, which he was now entering upon, should be no obstruction at all to the favor he bore to his chosen; and thus he would confirm the promise he had made to all the saints that he would make them sit down to meat, and would come forth and serve them, would put honor upon them as great and surprising as for a lord to serve his servants. The disciples had just now betrayed the weakness of their love to him, in grudging the ointment that was poured upon his head, yet he presently gives this proof of his love to them. Our infirmities are foils to Christ’s kindnesses, and set them off.”
This display of affection was very personal and intimate. This kind of love may be hard to receive, after we receive it, it is life changing. In the same way the ministry of the Holy Spirit is personal and intimate. Open your heart today and receive His love.