John 13:1-11

He loved them to the end (v. 1). But how? What does love look like in these moments as the end draws near? I really appreciate this text from John because it describes how to take steps of love at a difficult time. So much has already been decided. Judas has made his decision. The final meal has been served, shared, and finished. The hour has come, and Jesus knows what is about to happen.

So, when you know that the next part will be brutal, heart-breaking, and necessary, what does love do? The scripture tells us. Get up from the meal. Take off your street clothes and find a towel. Pick up the basin. Get the water. Take the steps of a familiar task. Do the work of caring for your friends.

I wonder if Jesus thought about the necessity of these steps of love in the face of trouble while Peter is exclaiming that the task of foot washing is not what Jesus should be doing. Peter thinks he knows what’s right. Jesus says he does not understand. Does Peter look at these simple steps and the filth of their feet and think that paying attention to humanity is too much for the Christ to do at this time? Does he want Jesus to do something that appears more poetic or regal to mark this moment? Maybe so, since he requests Jesus to go beyond bathing his feet.

Peter seems unsatisfied with this washing ritual; Jesus says that it
is enough. It is enough to reach for water and tie a towel. It is enough
to do the simple tasks of loving people well, even in heartbreaking


In your life, what simple steps have been enough to make you aware that you are loved and God is present?


Jesus, who shows us the way, draw our attention to the practices of care that look like a meal, a towel, and a basin. Help us receive love and be willing to offer it through steps like these. Amen.

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