Washing the Disciples' Feet
John 13:1-19
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father…

I. IT IS THE QUALITY OF AN UNFETTERED SPIRIT. The possession of an unfettered spirit is the gift of humility, a possession which can be yours and mine only as we rid ourselves of those fetters with which society and business and fashions of the day would bind us, and go out in the strength of a loyal affection to Jesus Christ to walk in the footsteps of the Master, bind up the broken-hearted, to visit those who are in prison, to wash the disciples' feet, and thus by our very humility illustrate a strength and power for the manifestation of which the world is longing today, as never before, with a great longing.

II. IN SUCH A CHRISTIAN HUMILITY THERE IS ALWAYS MAJESTIC POWER. There is a vast difference between muscular strength and moral strength. Atlas could carry the world upon his shoulders, but it required Christ to carry the world upon his heart. Go back into that valley of Elah in Old Testament times and see the difference between the strength of muscle and the strength of morals. Here comes the Philistine giant out from his camp. Behind him all are boasting of his power and of his prowess; in just a little Israel will be overthrown and the Philistine's god will be triumphant. And out from the camp of Israel comes that boy armed only with his sling and his five smooth stones. If you will follow the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find that ever and always the strength of His life was a strength of moral purpose put over against the other strength that the world had to offer.

III. THE WASTE OF A LIFE WHICH IS UNPOSSESSED OF THIS SPIRIT OF HUMILITY. This is a corollary from those last words of the text: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them;" because there is always great disaster which comes to an immortal soul when knowledge is not the spur which drives it. There is always something lost in a human life when that life knows more about Christ than it does for the sake of Christ. It is not that there may not be the manifestation of this lovely virtue or of that attractive trait apart from the spirit of humility; but there is a great waste in the life still, because it retains a possession which has not been transmuted into action, because it has not been entirely permeated by the spirit of love. You find a person, for example, who has been living far away among the hills, perhaps in a beautiful home, with everything that pertains to comfort and to luxury about him, but never having gone beyond the borders of the little town in which he has been dwelling. You have had the advantage of a larger acquaintance and of a larger fellowship, and as you speak with that circumscribed life you cannot help confessing to yourself that, although there is very much that is beautiful about it and within it, still there is a great lack there somewhere; there is a waste because that life has not gone out to see what there is to be seen in this world of ours. But just so soon as the Lord opened the eyes of Peter's impulsive soul, just so soon as He permitted him to look out upon vistas which he had never seen before, and upon a Divine landscape which had never before fallen beneath his ken, at that moment Peter called out in a great yearning and in a great soul-desire, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."

(Nehemiah Boynton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

WEB: Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Uncertain Friendship
Top of Page
Top of Page