"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you?' You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well for so I am. If I then, our Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to was one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." - John 12: 9-17
Do you remember what Jesus said after He washed the disciples' feet?
Jesus had just washed everyone's feet. No one needed his feet washed a second time, did he? But Jesus knew He would be crucified the next day. He knew He was going back to the Father. And He knew His disciples would need to be cleansed again soon. So He commanded His disciples (and that now includes you and me) to wash one another's feet.
Throughout the Bible, biblical leadership began with seeing others and acting in their best interest. Some of the greatest biblical leaders like Moses, Joshua, Joseph, and David first began washing other people’s feet and were eventually promoted based on acts of servitude.
How do we wash each other's feet?
The perfect example of servitude is washing one another's feet, but how can we implement that in our daily lives? Naturally, we're not in a position to forgive sins, but God can use us in the process of cleansing. Like Jesus, we can minister to a brother or sister in Christ who has become dirty or defiled by the world. As good stewards of the Christian faith, we need to make disciples by serving others through acts of kindness. The philosophy that I live by is put more in than you expect to receive in return.
How often have you asked someone "How are you?" and he's said "Oh, great," but you knew that person didn't mean it? Instead of sitting down and gently encouraging that person to open up, we often resort to trivial chatter or simply walk away. Am I right?
If we're serious about washing one another's feet, we become sensitive to the feelings of others and meet their emotional needs. We pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal signals they extend to us. We discard any judgmental thoughts and ask, "Is something wrong? How are you feeling? Can I pray with you?"
Notice you don't stand up to wash somebody's feet, you kneel. Humility and servant hood are prerequisites to being used by God in this vital ministry. There's no need to come on strong or pretend we have all the answers. When we come on our knees (if not physically, by our attitude) and say, "If I can serve you, if I can be of any help, let me know," then we can unleash God's blessing in the lives of others. We all need the Lord's cleansing and we need to wash each other's feet to achieve spiritual greatness.
This is a critical element of radical renewal.