The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:2-5 NIV)
Jesus has is actions rooted in God and God is his source. For Judas, the devil is his inspiration.
Jesus’ action here ( washing the feet and stripping to his inner clothing ) is because of two things: God’s putting all things under his power AND that he came from and was returning to God. God is the reason for his action.
Why do I do what I do? What is my motivation? What is the source of my actions and words? John paints a stark contrast between Judas’ motivation in the devil and Jesus’ rootedness in God. Perhaps it is always that stark and I don’t want to see it.
Jesus can humble himself because he was from, in, and going to God. His entire life is a continuum of God’s grace and love, power and authority. He can act humbly because there is no image to preserve… no self-interest to seek… no power to maintain. He acts out of his God-sourced life as he has done from the start.
Can I be humble today? Can I root myself, my actions, my words in God to the exclusion and trumping of all other sources? Can I humble myself because my self is God’s and from God?
Humble One, ground my life today in the God who sent you and empowered you and claimed you. May I be so taken up in God that I can kneel at others’ feet to wash and to serve. I can do what I do not because of what it will gain me but because all things are God’s already including me. May I wrap the towel about my waist and kneel today in service, in love, as you did. Amen.