Mick’s CV Memo – Disciples’ Feet

Jesus final week was packed with conflict and final instructions.  The gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have many overlapping accounts of those events and yet the three  “synoptic” gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke (the earlier ones), omit an event unique to John’s account—the washing of the disciples’ feet.  We believe each writer was inspired by God and led to write the very words they chose, omitting some things and including others.  The total record is the sum of them.  But John, the youngest disciple and often referred to as the Apostle of love, seems to emphasize the action side of love.  He uniquely recorded the extended discourse Jesus gave on the last night with the disciples, preserving these essential teachings…

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. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 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. John 13:12-15 (NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 (NIV)

His humble service to the disciples preceded the command illuminating the breadth of love He intended.  Imagine the condition of the disciples’ feet—the smell, the callouses and the embedded dust and dirt.  The washing rituals of Judaism at the time called for them to be washed and the task usually fell to the lowliest servant in the household.  Jesus intentionally shocked them by doing for them what should be done for Him.  It seemed so incongruous to them that no doubt they were embarrassed to have Him do it.  Peter even attempted to refuse it until Jesus overcame his argument. 

This calls for two responses from us.  First, we are to submit to cleansing by Jesus. We walk the earth as they did.  We may have more sophisticated footwear and more sophisticated excuses for our sinfulness; but we need regular cleansing. We submit to His cleansing by admitting our sin specifically and regularly.  We are also to be foot washers (servants) of any who need it, regardless of social walls we may erect.  Jesus even washed the feet of Judas moments before he went out to betray him.  We wash others’ feet by putting them ahead of ourselves.  When they fail us or the Lord, we don’t condemn or exclude them; we serve and help them through the dusty world, even when some of the dust is self-generated.  I can see why Jesus waited so long to do this, and I can see why it would be easy to exclude from 3 of the 4 gospels.  This is hard, counterintuitive instruction. Of course, the next day He illustrated the fullest extent of His love by willingly choosing to go to Calvary’s cross for us.  He is not asking us to literally die to self each day.  But He is asking us to grab a basin and towel and serve one another every day.

I also want to take the opportunity of this memo to announce a change in our paid staff team.  Rob Douglas has decided to step down from his paid staff role as Connect Pastor. His full-time job with Greenheart has been more demanding of late due to the pandemic and will be involving him in helping them completely restructure going forward. He is also sensitive to the financial need at CCC as it relates to hiring an Associate Pastor in the coming fiscal year. He will continue to coordinate our connect team in a volunteer capacity, as well as staying involved with our Guatemala team. We are blessed that Rob has so faithfully “washed the disciples’ feet” here at CCC and grateful that he will continue serving as we plan for transition.