24 Costly Hours and 24 Dirty Feet

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 11:15 PM 0 comments



Puff Daddy opens a trash song with these words:  “I want you to ask yourself one question; If you had 24 hours to live what would you do?” Though the song is very very bad and very very poor, his question is valid. If you are to create a wish list in the last 24 hours of your life, what will surely stick to your roll? With whom will you want to spend these? What are your deepest desires that you will express? Whatever your answers are, there is one thing I am certain of. You will never think of washing 24 dirty feet. Actually, you will never think of doing it even in your last 24 weeks, or your last 24 months, or perhaps even in your last 24 years.

That makes Jesus incredibly amazing. In His last 24 costly hours, He deeply considered the 24 dirty feet of his disciples. Only a steadfastly loving and amazingly humble Person can do this. Let us revisit John 13:1-14.

Steadfast Love Stated (John. 13:1)

The story starts with Jesus' omniscience; He “knew that his hour had come.” He washed the disciples’ feet not because he did not know that He was about to die. He did the washing with His full knowledge that He was about to “depart out of this world to the Father.” And I don’t think He did this ALTHOUGH He knew He was leaving. I believe He did this BECAUSE He knew He was leaving. Why? Because of His steadfast love; He “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

Steadfast Love Spurned (John. 13:2)

The divine love stated in verse 1 is an infinitely undeserved love that the eternal Lord dishes out freely. Only fools would reject this love. That’s why Judas acted to be so unreasonable. Verse 2 is seemingly so illogical. It is sandwiched between verses of the Lord’s steadfast love but it contained Judas’ rejection of this unparalleled love. What a contrast! And the Holy Spirit invites us to see the immense contrast of Jesus’ love and Judas’ hatred. Wasn’t Judas so foolish when he rejected such an intense love? If you answered yes, then a certain author Krumacher will argue that you have been as foolish as Judas in a thousand ways. He asks,
“… would that the traitor’s kiss that Judas gave was the only one, but in a spiritual sense Jesus still has to endure it a thousand fold to this hour, for hypocritically to confess Jesus with your mouth while your conduct belies Him, … to sing enthusiastic hymns to Him while trampling His gospel by word and deed, what is that but a Judas kiss by which men pollute the face of Jesus Christ?”

Steadfast Love Showed (John. 13:3-11)

In the times of Jesus and the apostles, almost everybody travels by foot in vast distances that modern day travellers can’t imagine. And since Israel is like all other Middle East countries, people walk through inch-deep dirt or mud. Just imagine the disciples’ feet! Therefore, it was common in Jewish houses to have big water containers for washing (just like in the wedding at Cana). When visitors come, the host may ask the lowest among his slaves to wash the feet of the guests.

Jesus and the Disciples. When they entered the upper room, Jesus and His disciples were left alone. There was no host. There was no slave. There was no one to wash their feet. No one among the disciples thought of serving his colleagues by washing their feet. Instead, everybody was greatly interested of who would be the greatest in GOD’s kingdom (Luke 22:24). For them, it was better to eat with dirty feet and endanger the food with dirt than wash the others’ feet. Jesus, having the greatest power and the highest position (see verse 3), stood and dressed like a slave and served as a slave. He rebuked them by showing them His steadfast love. If I was there and I was bragging about being the greatest (I am sure I would), and saw what Jesus started to do, I would be agonizing with regret and resentment. I think the next time the disciples gathered, they contested for the water.

Jesus and Peter. Here comes Peter’s feet. There were 3 exchanges of sentences between him and Jesus. In each exchange, Jesus wanted Peter to hover over some truths.

In verses 6 to 7, Jesus wanted Peter to see His picture of steadfast love portrayed in humility. And perhaps, He was even telling Peter that he would fully understand this simplier display of humility when he would already see the ultimate display of humility at the cross.

In verse 8, Jesus was implying to Peter that He was the only way for acceptable cleansing; that there is no other way to be fully acceptable to GOD but only through the only potent cleansing power of His blood.

In verse 9 and 10, Jesus was teaching Peter that when someone trusts the Lord, he becomes bathed clean – totally clean. And no more total cleansing like this will ever be needed again. But as he lives his still imperfect life here on earth, he may be gathering the earth’s dust. And although, these little dusts of the sinful world do not have condemning power anymore, it still has indwelling power. It still needs to be washed.

Jesus and Judas. Verse 11 displays another aspect of Christ’s unconditional love. The traitor, Judas, was there; he who would betray Jesus with a kiss; he who sold 3 years of ministry, fellowship, and friendship for 30 pieces of silver. He was there sitting with his dirty feet. Jesus washed his feet too.

Steadfast Love Shared (John 13:12-14)

In his last 24 costly hours, Jesus washed 24 dirty feet to show to the 12 disciples and share to them that, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” Christ’s disciples (that now includes you and me) are instructed to practice untiring love displayed in humility even in your last 24 hours.

(Note: For this post, I am greatly indebted to John F. MacArthur.)

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