Do for Others What Has Been Done for You
When we understand how our Master has served and cared for us, how can we be unwilling to serve others in His name? In this brief clip, Sinclair Ferguson reflects on Jesus’ washing the feet of His disciples.
Now, what this passage is emphasizing right from the beginning is that’s it’s when we understand not only the significance of what Jesus has done, but the significance of who Jesus is, who has done it, that it begins to impact my life, so that I come to understand because of the deep instincts of the gospel created in me. If the Lord of glory did this for His disciples, should not I follow His example and learn from my Master? How proud I must be if the Lord Jesus—the King of glory—washed the dirty feet of these disciples, if I am not willing and indeed eager to wash the dirty feet of other disciples whom I know? Actually, I find one of the most moving features of this particular chapter is this: Jesus actually knelt down and washed the dirty feet of the man He knew would deny Him three times before the next day dawned. There was no holding back with Jesus: “Oh, I won’t wash his feet because he will deny Me.” And perhaps even more remarkable is this: We learn in this passage that He knew who was going to betray Him. And He knelt down, apparently, and washed his dirty feet as well. This is surely what we mean when we speak about unconditional love for others: Jesus washes the feet of the one who will deny Him and washes the feet of the one who will betray Him. And the impact of that on me is surely to be this: “If He is willing to do that, should not I also be willing to follow His example?” Do you know that beautiful line in George Herbert’s poem “The Elixir,” part of which we sometimes sing as the hymn “Teach Me, My God and King”? “Nothing,” he says, “Nothing can be too mean, which with this tincture—for Thy sake—will not grow bright and clean.” You know, this is a very simple thing, isn’t it? Nothing complex or complicated about this. What Jesus did is described in simple sentences. He got up from supper. He took off His outer clothes. He put on the servant’s towel. He got the basin of water. He kneeled down, washed the dirty feet of His disciples. He put on His clothes and went back to the center place in the table. It’s not rocket science; it’s a matter of love. It’s a matter of following the example of the Lord Jesus. And we are helped to do this, not only because we understand the significance of what He has done, but because we are overwhelmed by the knowledge that He has done this for us, who—Would this not also be true?—who have denied Him, and also, perhaps, in the past, betrayed Him and trodden Him under feet, and despised the blood of His covenant. And if Jesus has done this for me, his reasoning is—should I not do this for others?