Towel

There was no quitting or turning back for Jesus.
What we call “the Last Supper” was over. Their bellies full and the outset of night’s shadows blurred the minds of the Twelve—all except one. The mind of Judas was racing. His heart was occupied by a plan. We do not know his reasons; it is enough to know what John tells us—Satan put it in Judas’ heart.

The Towel
The evening was far from over. Jesus had much to teach His men. Seeing their mental state, He began with an object lesson. John’s explanation of Jesus’ motives is crucial.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments,
took a towel and girded Himself.”

How could the Son of God stoop to this extreme act of humility and service—to wash the dirty feet of the Twelve, including Judas? He could do this because He was sure of both His origin and His destiny. He came from heaven and would soon return to heaven. On the other side of the agony He was about to endure, was a coronation. When one knows from whence he came and is sure of his destination, there is no shame in humility, no dishonor in servitude. So Jesus took a towel and knelt before each of His men and washed their feet. He prayed for each one, whispering words of encouragement never to be forgotten.

The men watched in amazement. None of them would do this. They were repulsed by it and fascinated with it. Each man was deeply conflicted until Jesus took his feet and drenched them water, and wiped them dray with the towel. He whispered prayers and blessings meant only for them and all their internal conflicts ceased. Each man knew that no one had or ever would love them the way Jesus did.

Peter
Jesus came to Peter next to last. The fisherman could not understand the reactions of the others. Whatever Jesus doing, He would not do it to him. Peter protested, shielding his feet from Jesus’ hands

“Lord, are You washing my feet?”

The other men shook their heads, wishing that Peter would be quiet for once. Jesus stayed at Peter’s feet, waiting for Peter to offer them to Him. Without looking up said,

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter would have none of it. Like a petulant child, he drew back his feet.

“You shall never wash my feet!”

His voice was louder than he intended. Jesus stood and dried His hands with the towel as if the ceremony was over. Firmly, He admonished Peter.

“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Peter was crushed. He wanted to look at the others but He could not take His eyes off Jesus. Was He still willing to wash his feet? Jesus smiled and knelt before him. Peter surrendered, broken, but still unable to restrain his words.

“Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

The other men shook their heads again as Jesus smiled and went on.

“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;
and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Jesus came to Judas, who, unmoved by the moment, looked away, distracted while Jesus washed His feet. He did not hear the tender words spoken only to him as Jesus washed his feet and dried them with the towel.

Scriptures:
John 13:1-11

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, Lord of All, You, whom all of heaven served joyfully, willingly, and completely, came not to be served but to serve. You did more than teach us about serving, You served. Humility is the coinage of Your Kingdom. Make me rich in it, Lord Jesus! Teach me the joy of service in Your powerful name and in Your peaceful shadow. I know from whence I came and I know my destination, so let me find my towel and serve my brothers and sisters and this hurting world. For Your glory, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Lord, Make Me Like You

Words and Music: Jimmy and Carol Owens

Lord make me like You, Please make me like You.
You are a servant. Make me one, too.
O Lord I am willing  Do what You must do
To make me like You Lord,  Just make me like You
Whatever You do Lord, Please make me like You

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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