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Image by Debby Hudson

A Humble Servant

Rosie Rochelle

Just a few days after Jesus and his disciples came to Jerusalem, Jesus requested a special meal, and I was honored to be part of it. “Make it nice”, I thought. “Make it special”. We were serving the King after all. I scurried to gather the finest spices and breads, I fetched fresh water from the well, and the wine was pressed, ready to be poured. “I am lucky”, thought as I strolled through the markets. What are the chances I would get to serve the King? I’m just a humble servant, just a nobody who goes unseen. But Mary and Martha were nearby and needed help, so I offered to wash the feet of Jesus, eager to show my love and devotion. I had no idea what this night would hold.I gathered fresh towels and prepared a basin of clean water, even adding fragrant oils and flowers for an extra touch of care. The atmosphere was tense that night, the pressure was mounting. As the meal began, I approached Jesus to wash his feet and the feet of his disciples. My hands were trembling a bit with nerves as I reached for a towel, just then Jesus stopped me. He stood up and asked me to hand him the towel. Confused, I slowly handed it to him. He removed his outer cloaks and placed the towel around his waist. Shocked and horrified, I scrambled and attempted to stop Jesus. He couldn’t really be doing what it looked like, could he? I tried to tell him that I’m there to serve and I would gladly wash all their feet, it was no problem. He wouldn’t hear of it. He gently touched my hand, looked around as he said to us all, that even He has come to serve, not be served. Tears welling up in my eyes, I watched as Jesus kneeled next to his disciples. One by one, he began washing their feet. One by one, he blessed them, told them he loved them, and reminded them that one day, they too would be serving and washing the feet of others.

No one seemed to move as the room was filled with awe, wonder, and stillness. You could hear a pin drop. My mouth must have dropped open in a gasp as I watched this great teacher, miracle worker the Messiah, the King, washing the dirty, calloused, dare I say gross, feet of his disciples. He was humble and this act of servanthood revealed his heart to us all. He spoke almost in a whisper and with hints of sadness in his tone. He told the disciples he loved them but would soon need to leave them. He spoke of the one who would soon betray him. He seemed to be speaking of things we did not yet know or understand. Yet, we all just listened and watched, stunned with silence. He exhorted the men to wash one another’s feet, as he has done for them. I couldn’t shake the words from my thoughts. Men washing other men’s feet? What did this mean? As dinner concluded, Jesus passed around bread and wine, asking his disciples to partake as it represented his body which would be broken for us, and his blood that would be shed. His disciples seemed perplexed but ate and drank anyway. Awe and wonder consumed me as I left the room that night. I’ve never seen a man who could perform miracles and feed thousands yet kneel to wash the feet of another man. I didn’t quite understand but I knew this moment would stay with me forever.

“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. 15 I have set you an example 
that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no 
servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the 
one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if 
you do them.” - John 13: 12-17

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