God put something inside of us that makes us feel good when we’re treated as an important person. Have you ever been the guest of honor before? Or been the most important person in the room? Or treated like royalty when you’ve visited somewhere? When something like that happens, we often say, “I could get used to this!” It’s a natural response to feel that way. What isn’t natural is to be in a moment or place like that, then excuse yourself from being the center of attention to plunging toilets. Most of us would ask someone else to do it so we wouldn’t mess up our clothes or stop the doting on us. However, that’s the example Jesus gave us to follow.
On the night before the Passover, which was a foreshadowing of what Jesus was about to do, He and the disciples were having dinner. John 13:3 says, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God” (NLT). He had all authority in the universe in this moment. He knew He was heading back home, yet He noticed no one had washed their feet as was the custom. Instead of telling someone to call a servant or instead of asking a disciple to wash the feet, He did it. Verses 4-5 say, “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.”
Doug Stringer, a ministry friend at Somebody Cares, says, “While men reach for thrones to build their own kingdom, Jesus reached for a towel to wash men’s feet.” When Jesus reached the moment His whole life had been pointing to, and had been given all authority, He showed us what to reach for. He denied the pride that lives within all of us and reached for the towel of humility. He served those He was about to die for, including Judas. The example Jesus gives is what He said over and over. If you want to be great in His kingdom, you must reach for a towel and serve. While it feels good to be the center of attention, and to have our ego stroked, it’s eternally better to have the heart of a servant.