March 26th 2010

The Servant King

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him.”

John 13:16 (Amplified Bible) 

The final act of service that Jesus performed for His disciples before His crucifixion was the act of a servant…He washed their feet.  Foot washing was an essential act of hospitality in Middle Eastern culture.  Everyone wore sandals, and of course feet got very dusty and sweaty during the day. Normally household servants would perform this menial task as guests arrived at a house, but in the upper room that evening there were no servants.  So Jesus Himself took on this lowly task. Why? Because no-one else was prepared to do it. All the disciples were reclining at the table with dusty feet, probably thinking, “So who is going to wash our feet then?” 

Imagine the total embarrassment they felt as their Master, Jesus, washed their feet one by one! I imagine that the only sound heard during this act of love was the splash of water and the rustle of the towel as He dried those feet. But what a great lesson for these men, what an amazing example of outgoing concern and love being displayed here. 

Here is the humility of God!  Imagine the Incarnate God of the universe, clothed as a servant, girded with a towel, and on hands and knees washing feet.  No wonder Peter protested.  He tells Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet!” But Jesus informs him, “unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:8-9 (NIV).  And so Peter yields to his Servant Master. 

The lesson behind this act comes later when all has been completed.  “When He had finished washing their feet, (and this included the feet of Judas), he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them.  ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-15 (NIV)

 In other words, no matter what our status in life, let it be our goal to look for opportunities to become a servant to all, following the example of Jesus, “The Servant King!” 


Gracious Saviour, thank you for the very special example you set by serving others. You do this not only for your disciples, but for everyone in need that crosses your path. Grant us that same heart, the heart of a servant, that daily we might reach out to others and touch their lives gently with your love by the power of your Spirit.


Study by Cliff Neill 

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