In the first part of John 13, we have the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. It is immediately after he had predicted His death to his disciples, and just before He tells his disciples that Judas will betray him and Peter will deny him. John says in vs. 3 that “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” Basically John says that Jesus knew who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going.
It is interesting that John would put this sentence in at the beginning of this story. Since Jesus knew this, He did not hesitate to take on the job of the lowest servant. I think about my junior high school days. I would leave home early and go to my dad’s barber shop since that got me two miles closer to my school. I had about an hour before I had to leave for school, and often I got to put his old shoe shine stand at the back of the barber shop to use on an early morning customer who wanted a shoe shine. It was not a prestigious job by any means, but since I knew who my dad was and that this was not going to be my permanent occupation, I was willing to do the lowly job since there was no one else there to do it.
Every one of Jesus’ disciples would have been a more suitable candidate for this foot washing job than Jesus was, but they didn’t do it. No one was willing to lower themselves to serve the others in such a humbling way. They would rather sit there with dirty, stinking feet than to humble themselves enough to wash the feet of their fellow disciples, but that didn’t hinder Jesus. He knew that His importance was not determined by how many people served Him but by how many people He served.
May we be willing to follow Jesus’ example. Volunteer willingly for the dirty jobs—do the set up for the meal, do the clean up after the meal, don’t worry about sitting at the head table. Our greatness is determined by our service, not by our position. That is what Jesus sought to demonstrate for His followers.