3/26/2018 5:21:11 PM
Holy Week 1: Do You Understand What I Have Done For You?
Please enjoy these devotions from a series published in 2016 by Martin Luther College entitled "Searching Questions from Christ's Passion"
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his
clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:12-15)
Jesus asked this question because he knew his disciples
of all times would have trouble grasping this point about
Holy Week—Christian leaders get down on the floor.
So Jesus made this lesson clear and direct. He is the
master teacher; here he took the eternal truth and
expressed it in a vivid, even uncomfortable, object lesson.
He laid aside all the power and glory the Father had
given him, got down on the floor, and washed the feet of
What makes this hard to understand? Our pride and
sense of privilege. We think we have done well when we
are patient and polite with other people, especially with
people who seem below us. Jesus tells us we need to
You may be the smartest one in the room. You may be
the leader—gifted, appointed, and even called. But God
has put you in that position to serve others, to serve
in the lowest ways. “How many times do I have to . . .
tell these people? clean up after these people? do what
someone else should have done?” Well, one more time,
What I Have Done: Jesus—the holy, anointed Teacher
and Lord—got down on the floor and showed what
Christian leaders do. He washed his disciples’ feet. This
action echoed the greater washing Jesus was doing that
week, purifying us by paying the wages of our sins. He died for all the times I refused to lift a finger, lose a privilege, or forget a time when I was disrespected.
This washing was also a literal, practical, and daily job. The dirt sticks and collects along the miles, and a bowl of water with strong hands soothes and refreshes. This cleansing feels so good when you hire someone to do it, so think of what an absolute delight it is when the one who washes your feet is your lover and lord.
For You: Jesus, during Holy Week, “loved [us] to the end”
(John 13:1). Our Lord and Teacher got down on the floor to wash our feet. And then he got up on the cross. He did this to be the humble servant we’ve never been, and he did this to inspire us to do what we find so hard.
Do we understand? As we watch Jesus on the floor with a towel around his waist and a basin, we better understand our sinful pride. We treasure Jesus’ love and gift. And we better understand what Christian leaders do. We get down on the floor to confess. We bow down to marvel at Jesus’ love. We kneel to serve—to be a delight to
Dear Jesus, washer of our feet and souls, forgive
us for our pride and lack of love. Lead us in your
grace to live new lives serving each other. Amen.
--Professor Brian Dose
reprinted with permission