He arose from supper and reached for a towel—a piece of cloth worn by servants and persons in waiting. He fastened it to his waist, signifying the lowliness of the action he was about to take. After pouring water into a basin, God’s only begotten Son began to wash the dusty feet of his disciples. After he had finished his task, he sat down again and said, “Know ye what I have done to you?” The Lord Jesus Christ continued with one of his greatest teachings on serving.
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
In the East the lowliest bond servant was responsible to wash the feet of his master’s family and of guests when they arrived at the house. When Jesus carried out this humble task, he set an example of love, service, and humility for his disciples to follow. With this act of service, he demonstrated the love of God that his disciples were to have in their lives. He was teaching them a principle, saying that in attitude of heart his followers should be like bond servants, those who were dedicated, trusted servants. When this concept of being servants is transferred to Christian service, it expresses the highest devotion of one who is bound by love.
Jesus Christ didn’t just tell his disciples to serve, he vividly illustrated the heart of loving service. Jesus Christ was teaching them that they should be willing to do the lowliest task in order to bless each other.
Later in this record, Jesus gave his followers a new commandment.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
He had illustrated to them how to serve one another with love and humility by washing their feet. Jesus Christ was exhorting his disciples to love one another in their service with the same spiritual love with which he had loved them.
In the Grace Administration that we live in today, we are also exhorted to serve one another in love.
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
We have further direction on how to serve one another in love in Galatians 6.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
There is no limit when it comes to applying these verses in our walk. How many opportunities are there in a day to do good unto all men, especially to those like-minded believers with whom we fellowship? We can actively seek to do good—to freely serve one another out of love—as we help each other live the Word. Whether it’s speaking kind and edifying words, giving of our aptitudes and abilities, or carrying out the lowliest of tasks, we can help and support others in loving service. It’s a joy to recognize and follow through on opportunities to do good unto others.
Jesus Christ was the epitome of serving in love, and he taught his disciples how to serve in love. In our day and time, we are the ones to extend loving service to those around us. In all our dealings with others, we can manifest the love of God in any situation by looking for opportunities to serve. We all have something to offer and contribute, so let’s reach out in loving service today.