“When He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12–17, ESV)
Jesus set an example for His disciples, and this example is one that He then went on to tell them that they are to follow with one another. He was not putting in place a new ordinance of foot washing, though many have done so as a meaningful reminder. What He did was to demonstrate to them with His own hands that they are to humble themselves to one another in freely serving them. There are to be no followers of His who are too big to serve. The Son of God became man to serve, and as their Teacher and Lord He proved His servant heart by His freely and faithfully serving. If service is not below God, it surely could not be below any man, and any man who thinks he is too good to serve is surely not of God.
Jesus, knowing from Whom He was sent, willingly subjected Himself to the will of the Father. He did not look to Himself being equal with God be cause for Him to act on His own. As the Son sent by the Father, Jesus called His disciples to respond in the same way to Him. As we lovingly submit to Him we honor Christ, and in honoring Him we glorify the Father.
There are many religious systems out there which base their concept on salvation on the works of its adherents. Being a Christian is more than service. Service is an outward working of inward change. Because of what God has done for us we reach out to others. This is what God did for us and it is what we are called to do for others. Service does not save anyone, but it does demonstrate that something significant has happened in those who are saved.
What saves a person is faith in Christ as the Son sent by the Father to save. Salvation is a free gift from God and it is received by faith. Then at the moment we believe we are declared righteous with the perfect righteousness of Christ. We become a new creation. We are made spiritually alive with the Holy Spirit being given at that moment to all believers to remain without leaving. From that point everything changes. Following, as we grow in Christ, we are made in our thoughts and actions to resemble more and more who we are eternally declared to be. It is this growing or sanctification process that evidences itself not only in our heart attitudes but in our life actions. As we hide God’s Word in our hearts and we live according to what we learn as His Spirit makes it alive for us we then become vessels of light through which rivers of living water flow (John chapters 7 and 8).
In a nutshell, our lives are to affect others because His life changed ours. All that we say and do is to be done in such a way that it points people to Christ and God is glorified in the process. This is the objective of a life lived in the power of Christ according to the work of the Spirit. Speaking of our special spiritual enablement Peter wrote, “whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV)
There is no servant above his master and there is no service below the servant. Having said this Jesus added, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”