Mar 10

Part 52: The King Takes Up a Towel

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |John 13:1-20

Has there ever been a more important meal that the Lord’s last supper with this disciples? There were no miraculous signs or large crowds gathered. Multitudes were not fed and water was not transformed into wine. But this was our Lord’s final meal before his arrest. By the time Jesus reclined at the table with his disciples, Judas had already planned to betray him to the authorities. It was there also that Jesus informed Peter that he would betray him three times by Friday morning. It was during this supper that Jesus delivered his powerful “Farewell Discourse” (chapters 14-16) and offered his great “Highly Priestly Prayer” (chapter 17). That last supper also was the occasion that Jesus gave to his church the Lord’s Supper as a particular means of grace to be practiced until his return to consummate the age.

Before all of this, however, Jesus did a most remarkable thing. He got up from the low table, wrapped a towel around his waist, filled a bowl with water, and began to wash the feet of his disciples. In this way he was demonstrating to them that he had “loved them to the end” (vs. 1). Of the four gospel accounts, only John records this stunning act of humility. Of all household chores, there was perhaps no more lowly act than washing the dirty feet of guests. And yet the King, without any fanfare, took up the towel of humility and did what none of his disciples had considered doing either for one another or for their Lord. In this way Jesus demonstrated the sort of humiliating death he was going to suffer. But he was also leaving his followers an example follow. Jesus’ call to imitate his posture of servanthood still stands. As we consider the Lord’s stunning act of humble service, may we give all the more attention to how we can do the same for one another.

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