Whenever I read in John’s record of the last night Jesus had with His disciples, I am stuck again by the powerful messages that He so frequently conveyed by His actions. Throughout the gospels we see Him working miracles with the understanding that they were not His primary reason for coming. Rather, these works were proofs that demonstrated the power and compassion of God as His Son proclaimed the real hope of being permanently rescued through His shed blood on the cross and the subsequent proofs of His burial and resurrection which were witnessed by many.
But on this special night with His disciples it was not a miracle that was so poignant, but a simple action. The disciples were all seated and supper had begun when Jesus got up knowing that His time was near to return to the Father. He proceeded to take off His outer garments. Then, we read in John 13:5, “…He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” (ESV) A few verses later He told His disciples, “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 ... 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 13:14–17, ESV)
In this simple act Jesus demonstrated that it doesn’t take a miracle to touch someone. In following His example we display by our actions the love that we’ve learned from Him as He gave Himself fully for us, and maybe then we even get to share why.