Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
John 13:1-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
13 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table,[a] took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet,[b] but is entirely clean. And you[c] are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
When Jesus wanted to prepare his friends for his coming death, he had supper with them. As they ate and talked, Jesus undoubtedly thought about what lay ahead of him and about the meaning of his ministry and his mission. John says that Jesus knew “that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God.”
Jesus took on the role of a servant to prepare the disciples for the life of service to which Jesus had called him. The washing of feet was also an act of hospitality. Jesus said, “Do you know what I have done to you?”, Jesus asked them. “You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Jesus made it clear through his powerfully symbolic action that the life of his followers is to be a life of service and hospitality—whatever our vocation. Seven years ago, two weeks after becoming pope, Pope Francis traveled to the Casal del Marmo prison on Rome’s outskirts and washed the feet of twelve people, including two women and two Muslims. It was a dramatic scene. It was the first time women had taken part in the traditional Holy Thursday service. It was also the first time that a pope had conducted the service outside of either St. Peter’s or the Basilica of St. John in Lateran. He said that he wanted to be closer to those who were suffering. His message was a simple one: Everyone, even the pope, had to be in the service of others.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster