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No matter who you are!

How many of you have ever washed someone else’s feet other than your children’s? How many of you have had your feet washed by others? How did you feel when someone washed your feet? It may have felt good. I have experienced someone washing my feet and giving me an exfoliating massage when I got a pedicure. It was so good, like receiving good care.

Today’s scripture is about how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. One night, it was most likely a Thursday evening, when they were about to eat the Last Supper. Jesus knew it was time for him to leave his disciples. He decided to do something for his disciples, whom he loved. It was to wash their feet. His disciples didn’t know what would happen. But they were still excited after they marched into Jerusalem with a huge crowd. They might argue about who would get a higher position when Jesus was king. Jesus knew everything about what would happen. He got up from the table, removed his robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was tied around him. When he came to Simon Peter, Peter was surprised at what Jesus was doing and said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

The Israelites walked in the desert area without transportation, wearing sandals. When they entered a house, they washed their feet. But, in situations where there was a lack of water, most ordinary people couldn’t wash their feet very often. In their culture, washing a guest’s feet was showing great hospitality. It was great hospitality, even if they were giving guests water to wash their hands and feet or water to drink. You may remember the scripture about the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume and washed his feet with her tears. At that time, Jesus said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair” (Luke 7:44). Washing someone’s feet is the job of a servant. Imagine kneeling before the person, taking their sandals off, and washing the dirt off their feet.

So, Peter was surprised that Jesus would wash his feet. And then, he said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus said, “you don’t understand what I’m doing now, but later you will understand. Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Then, Peter said, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but wash my hands and my head as well.” He didn’t understand what Jesus was doing. Jesus told him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew one of his disciples might betray him. Nevertheless, he washed all of his disciples’ feet. After he was done, he returned to the table and said, “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” It is an excellent example of Jesus teaching us to serve one another.

A professor of liturgics at my seminary in Korea said, “To worship God is like to wash Jesus’ feet,” which means to worship God makes us humble before God. However, I may say, “If you

worship God, Jesus is present beside you. And while you worship God with your whole heart, mind and soul, he may wash your feet.” No Matter who you are, No Matter what you did and what you will do. Come all of you to God, and worship him. Jesus washes our feet while we worship him as if he was washing our sins away. Today, we will wash our hands before God. It is a symbol of how Jesus washes our sins away. I hope we can all forgive others who go against us, as Jesus showed and taught us. Serve one another with your hands as Jesus served us with his life. Thanks be to God. Amen!