“He took a towel and tied it around His waist.” –John 13:4
An apron is a holy thing. At the Last Supper Jesus Himself donned a makeshift apron when He wrapped a towel around His waist before He washed His disciples’ feet. Aprons are also symbolic. They remind us that serving others is not always neat. Our various forms of loving can get messy at times.
The story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet, it was an act of extreme humility that caught them off guard. And so He asked them: “Do you realize what I have done for you? . . . As I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:12,15).
So is this the final lesson? Did Jesus wash His disciples’ feet as a way of calling them to take up a life of humble service? Well, yes and no.
“Jesus knew that His hour had come.” –John 13:1
Yes, Jesus did urge His disciples to become humble servants like Himself–and He did it in a specially powerful way with this prophetic gesture. But that’s not all He was doing. Look at the way John introduces this story: “Jesus knew that His hour had come. . . .He loved His own in the world and He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
Jesus knew that the end was near. Yet rather than spend these final few hours focusing on His own life, He went out of His way to show His disciples how deeply He loved them. He knew that words alone weren’t going to do the job. Words can be forgotten all too easily. So He chose a prophetic gesture that would make a deep impression on them. He chose to perform an act that was reserved for household slaves. He chose an act that would be forever etched in the disciples’ memories as proof of His love and His commitment to them. With this act, Jesus went beyond humility.
It was His way of telling them: “I have loved you right up to the end of my earthly days. I have confidence in you. I am entrusting my church to you. Now go and lead others as I have led you.
Let our hearts be filled with gratitude for the people who have served us throughout our life and for all those individuals for whom we don our apron.
Servant Jesus, may I serve the people in my life as generously and graciously a you did.–Sr. Melannie Svoboda, S.N.D. Living Faith
Spend time with Our Lord contemplating His unfathomable love for us, His giving us His Body and Blood , His agony in the garden, His walk to Calvary. Then as Easter morn dawns, we can sing that Our Savior has indeed risen!!! He have given us immeasurable gifts . . . . can we not go and stay awake an hour with Him?
(Excerpts from a devotional sent to me by email. I’m sorry; I do not know the source.)