A humbled Christian happily and humbly serves others.
Roads in the first century were primarily made of dirt, and most people walked everywhere. Mud and animal droppings were constantly caked all over their feet. The lowest servant in the household was responsible for washing the feet. It was a humiliating task. Before Jesus was to be crucified, He met with His disciples to give them last instructions. But shockingly, the first thing He did after they walked in the door was wash their feet.
A true servant serves others even in the midst of great personal crisis. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus’ hour to be crucified had come, but even in this hour of trial, he “loved [the disciples] to the end.” Despite the impending agony of the cross, Jesus’ heart was focused on his disciples. Unfortunately, when we are going through trial, we have a tendency to drop out of serving other people, but that is the last thing you need to do. Don’t let your trial draw your attention inward and paralyze your service.
A true servant serves others even when they don’t deserve it. The disciples (particularly Judas) did not deserve to have their feet washed (vs. 2-4). How prone are you to serve others that don’t deserve it? How easy is it for you to serve those who are the cause of your pain? The truth is, you don’t deserve to be served either.
A true servant serves others even though they are lower in rank. This point only applies to Jesus (vs. 3) because, in the eyes of God, no one is lower in rank to others. Before this scene, the disciples had been debating who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom, but Jesus is the only person who deserves to get any glory (Luke 22). He has all authority to rule the planet as the Creator of the universe, and yet He was the one who stooped low.
Examine these two all-American attitudes:
“I don’t need any help.” Do you struggle being served or asking for help/ counselling? Maybe you’re a Mr. Independent who thinks they can figure it out all by themselves (Peter had that attitude). You are a sinner, and sinners have problems. It is not shameful to ask for help. If you struggle, that is a pride issue.
“I don’t need help, so they shouldn’t need help either. I had to do it by myself, so they should too.” We like the saying, “God helps those who helps themselves,” but that is not in the Bible. It is false. God helps those who can’t help themselves; that is His specialty. If you want to be a humble servant, you need to realize that you are in need of grace. When you know you need to come to the cross daily, it will radically affect how you serve other people.