Today, my pastor preached possibly the most powerful message I have ever heard him preach. He spoke from John 13:1-17, the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. Halfway through the story, we come to Peter. Peter, of course, is the loud-mouthed guy who was born with his foot in his mouth. (That’s why he had to be born again—so that Jesus could correct the problem.)
When Jesus tried to wash Peter’s feet, Peter rebuked Him: “No, Lord, you will never wash my feet!” He couldn’t bear the idea of the King of the Universe stooping to the lowly task of feet-washing—the job of a slave.
For those of us who love Jesus, it’s easy to follow Peter’s example: “No, Lord, you must not serve me! I am here to serve You!” We take an adaptation of John F. Kennedy’s famous words: “Ask not what Jesus can do for you. Ask what you can do for Jesus!”
Jesus had some strong words for Peter: “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me!”
We forget that our ministry comes not from our own power, but from Jesus’. We forget that we have to let Jesus wash our feet so that we can wash others’.
You see, Jesus is not an arrogant, self-serving King. He is meek and humble (Matthew 11:29). He wants to wash our feet.
When we fail to let Jesus serve us, we are unable to serve Him. We have all sorts of problems. We get tangled in sin. Because Jesus’ washing of water by the word cleanses us.
When we follow manmade rules, regulations, and systems that focus only on us serving Jesus, we end up telling Him not to wash our feet. When we rely on our own strength to follow Him, we tell Him not to wash our feet. When we try to stop sinning on our own willpower, we tell Him not to wash our feet.
Ironically, we want to serve Jesus so much that we are unwilling to let Him serve us—which means that we are unable to serve Him.
Allow Jesus to serve you, not out of pride that the Lord of All would serve you, but out of true humility that recognizes that you can do nothing without Him.