"'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.'"
Thursday evening the disciples had supper with Jesus in the Upper Room. He had less than 24 hours to live. Bloody sweat and passionate prayer in Gethsemane was just a few hours away. But before leaving the Upper Room, He washed the disciples' feet and issued the "new commandment."
What is new about the new commandment? To love our neighbor as ourselves was not new! But to love as Jesus demonstrated was unheard of: "'If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.'" The Lord was a servant! The King was a commoner!
I've just started watching Downton Abbey. Kristen graciously watches it with me, though she and Rachel watched it together several years ago. One is constantly reminded of the stark differences between the aristocrats and everyone else! The "haves" were not to marry the "have-nots." The aristocrats were waited on hand and foot. Never were they to swap places with the maids, footmen, valets, etc.
But Jesus swapped places with the lowliest of servants. Against his objections He washed Peter's feet. Knowing of his pending betrayal He even washed Judas' feet. And then, He commanded us to love friend or foe, disciple or traitor, as He had shown.
Our salvation would not have been possible had Jesus not "emptied" Himself, made Himself nothing, taken the form of a servant, and become obedient to the point of death on the cross. He came to serve, not to be served. He was rich beyond all splendor but became poor for our salvation.
Do you want the world to know you are Jesus' disciple? If so, find someone who has betrayed you and "wash their feet." We have more in common with them than we like to admit. Someone writes, "I looked at my brother through the microscope of criticism and said, 'How coarse my brother is.' Then I looked at him through the telescope of scorn and said, 'How small my brother is.' Then I looked at him through the mirror of truth and said, 'How like me my brother is!'"