The Apostle John begins the incredible story of Jesus washing his disciples feet with these words: “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”
In spite of the fact that He knew full well His power and position, Jesus took the place of the lowliest of servants by submitting Himself to the humiliation of washing His disciples’ dirty feet. How unlike the powerful and prestigious personages of our world today, all of whom would undoubtedly frown upon such demeaning service as being far beneath their dignity. To them, soiling their high-handedness with such humiliating service would be simply inconceivable.
Foot washing requires a rock solid sense of one’s own identity. Those who are insecure in themselves need not apply. A small person cannot survive on their knees before others. Their sense of self will shrivel plumb up once girded with a towel and handed a basin. On the other hand, those who are sure of their identity in Christ need not jockey for worldly position to prove their significance. They are as assured of it on their knees as they would be on a throne.
Christ’s identity was not the least bit altered by His washing of His disciples’ feet. Neither is our identity in Christ altered in the least by our posture before others or others’ posture before us. Since our identity in Christ is based solely upon our relation to Him, it is not in the least decreased by our kneeling before others or increased by others kneeling before us. Once we stop looking to be comfortable in our own skin and start looking for contentment in Christ, we’ll find ourselves free to wash feet without fear of being diminished.
In the Kingdom of God, unlike in the kingdoms of this world, the truly great are those who serve, not those who are served (Mark 10:44-45). True greatness never struts up to you and demands that you bow. Instead, it’s always girded in humility and worn by a servant. You may even find it kneeling at your feet.
Peter initially failed to recognize greatness when it kneeled before him (John 13:6-9). However, after being enlightened to it, he desired to bask and bath in it. So should we. By doing so we are cleansed of self and consecrated for Christ’s humble service.