He Loved Them to the End

Lou Lotz

Read: John 13:1-20

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet . . . (v. 5)

In the Upper Room there was a basin and a towel, as custom demanded, to wash dust from sandaled feet. Foot washing was dirty work—a servant’s job. We presume that the disciples, having no servant, took turns washing one another’s feet.

But not that night. It says in Luke’s Gospel that the disciples argued, that evening, about which one of them was the most important (9:46). Maybe that’s why, on Maundy Thursday, they sat there, silent and sulky, shooting angry glances at one another, each of them thinking that they were better than the others: “Me wash his feet? Hah!”

Then Jesus arose, poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel. Imagine the disciples’ faces as Jesus made his way around the room, how stunned and embarrassed they must have been. Imagine Judas’ face as Jesus knelt before him! Jesus knows he is about to be betrayed, and he knows by whom, yet he washes Judas’ feet.

Even when, by our actions, we deny Jesus, or betray him, he still kneels before us with basin and towel, ready to wash us and make us clean. Such love is unfathomable; it defies understanding. No matter how far we have wandered, no matter how callously we have betrayed him, Jesus awaits us in the soul’s upper room, a basin in his hands, a towel wrapped around his waist. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to wash you and make you clean.