The Savior On His Knees (By Jon Perkins)

This week is commonly referred to as Holy Week, the week leading up to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I can’t even begin to imagine what could have been going through Jesus’ mind this week. He knew on Monday what this week would bring.
He knew that one of His closest friends would betray Him. He knew that another of His closest friends would deny Him not once but thrice. He knew that He was going to go on trial. He also knew that He was going to die and bring salvation to the world.
Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin root mandatum, or ‘commandment’, as found in John 13:34, “A new commandment (Mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
This commandment was given by the Lord on the Thursday before His crucifixion. So Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.” This commandment was given before His betrayal, before the denial, and before His trial, His beating, and His death. He wanted His disciples to love others just as He loved them.
What a challenge! What a call! Of course, the question is how.
Jesus demonstrated the “how” just a few verses earlier when He washed the feet of the disciples. Think about that for a second. Our Lord, our King, our Creator, and our Savior, got down and His knees and washed the feet of the disciples. They weren’t wearing socks or shoes. They weren’t getting weekly pedicures. They weren’t walking down paved roads. They were walking on dusty, sandy roads with sandals. But Jesus did not care; He knelt before His disciples and washed their feet.
For the disciples, washing feet was a common practice. In Jewish tradition, one would commonly offer their guests a basin of water for their feet. But guests knew they were expected to wash their own feet. Washing the dirt off someone else’s feet was a duty reserved for only the lowest of the low Gentile servants, and Jewish slaves were typically exempted from this duty.
It reminds me of when I was growing up. As soon as someone walked in the house, it was common practice for guests to remove their shoes, but never once did I take the shoes off of my friends’ feet. I am not sure the thought ever crossed my mind. Jesus met them where they were.
He placed Himself as an extra-lowly slave to wash the disciples’ feet. The disciples were both surprised and embarrassed by this act of humility. After extensive research on the subject, the author D.A. Carson came to the conclusion that ‘There is no instance in either Jewish or Greco-Roman sources of a superior washing the feet of an inferior.’ And it was our Savior on His knees washing the dirt from the feet of his followers!
Jesus loved His disciples. He knew He was going to demonstrate it in ways they could not fathom. But with this example, He showed that we are to love by serving others. This week means everything to us as believers. We get to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection.
However, this week should motivate us to love others the same way that Christ loved us. How are we loving our family? How are we loving our friends? How are we loving our community? Jesus finished this “new command” with this, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”