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Article by Shawn Branch

One Step in Front of The Other

In His final hours, Jesus dedicated himself to be with His friends and to prepare them for the events that were about to unfold.

The Gospel accounts of that night speak of Jesus getting down on His knees and washing the feet of His disciples. It is this spirit of love and service of others, which is to be the outstanding characteristic of the Christian disciple.


There are three (3) important references to feet in the New Testament:

  1. “If a village doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave.” (Matthew 10:14)
  2. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15), which is a quote from Isaiah.
  3. “Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair.” (John 12:3)

Washing someone else’s feet is a humbling task - both for the person receiving and the person washing occasionally it can be humiliating. Our feet are often the most worn, beaten and dirtiest part of our bodies.

Jesus lowers Himself to his knees, in front of each disciple and washes their feet. Jesus knew what lied ahead of Him. Judas’ decision was leading Jesus to His death on the cross. He was waiting for the right time to finish his act of betrayal. Still, Jesus washes Judas’ feet.

Jesus’ call to the apostles and to us, is to humble ourselves and serve those around us - even those who have betrayed us. That is hard to do. Our normal response to betrayal or hurt, is anger and bitterness. Jesus’ call to us is to love and humbly serve.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas,son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. (John 13)

Jesus has called us to let go of the right to anger and bitterness; to humble ourselves and serve those who hurt us.

This is a difficult call; one that may take a lifetime to achieve.

Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.”

Humility and Love - may we all receive these gifts.

Shawn C. Branch is the national director for Threshold Ministries.