All power is mine. May I wash your feet, please?

Not what you’d expect from the richest, most famous, most powerful person in existence.

“All power is mine. May I wash your feet, please?”

That’s servant work. We expect the wealthy and influential to hire ordinary people to wash cars, mow lawns, scrub bathrooms.

Yet the most powerful, Jesus, offers to wash feet. We shake our heads in confusion. Why?

Unless, of course, serving others is the ultimate honor.

Our human nature would disagree. We aim high, grasp for power, seek influence so that others can serve us. How can I get ahead? How can you help me? Our eyes so naturally see others as opportunities to exploit.

Our human nature is selfish. It thinks first about me. Though God says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.” Though God says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Selfish. God punishes selfish people. Forever.

We rightly are afraid.

To the disobedient who recognize the justice of divine punishment, the Lord invites, “Watch Jesus washing the feet of his friends.”

Why did Jesus, most powerful, so humble himself? He did this in our place. We do not perfectly love our neighbor. We deserve eternal pain. God loved us and sent his son Jesus to love perfectly in our place.

To see Jesus washing the feet of his friends is to know that he did this as our substitute. Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth, washes dirty toes and then tells us that as many as are baptized in the name of Jesus have been clothed in the perfect life of Jesus. You get credit for his perfect love.

Jesus didn’t stop with foot washing. Later in the week, he gave up his own life for his friends, you and me. He suffered the eternal hell we deserved. God put our sin on Jesus and treated him like he should have treated us so that in Jesus we are washed clean of all disobedience and made perfect in God’s eyes.

What love!

Why should a great God love sinners like us? I don’t know, but he did. The greatest served the least.

This is now your privilege. Serving others is the greatest honor that exists.

Let us love, as he loved us.

May I wash your feet, please?

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