Take Up Your Towel

I would love to be able to go back in time. Obviously, even with our modern technology, we haven’t been able to do anything like time travel. However, if we could go back in time, I would love to go back to when Jesus was on the earth. There are a lot of different stories in the Bible that I would love to have been there to actually see and experience. One of those moments I wish I could have been a part of is the Last Supper, and you’ll see why.

In John 13:4-5, it says, “So, Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.”

Wait, what? The Son of the living God is washing whose feet? Jesus, the One who rules over all creation, is washing the feet of fisherman, tax collectors, and other sinners. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.” (John 13:3) Jesus knew who He was. He was worthy to be treated like the heavenly King that He is. He knew if anyone deserves to sit back, relax, and have their feet washed, it was Him. However, in this moment, Jesus takes on the posture of a servant, not an arrogant King.

I would have loved to be a disciple in that moment. Could you imagine? Jesus, in the flesh, washing your feet. I would love to have seen the other disciples’ faces as Jesus started to take off their sandals and scrub the dirt off of their feet. I probably would have responded like Peter, who said to Jesus, “No, You shall never wash my feet.” (John 13:8) He felt unworthy. Can you blame him? He was a sinner, who deserved punishment. God, however, did not come to crush those who are unworthy, He came to cleanse them.

But what’s the point of all this? Why is Jesus wrapped in a towel and washing sinners’ feet? Well, He says, in verse 14 and 15, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15)

Do you get it now? Jesus was trying to teach them. He was leading by example. Do you see it? If Jesus, who is clothed in power and glory, can put on a towel and serve sinners, then, why can’t you do the same? I’m not just talking about washing feet. I am talking about humbling yourself and serving others around you.

Do you understand that Jesus sat down and washed the feet of Judas, who would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus washed the feet of Peter, who would later deny Him 3 times. Jesus did not act too great or too mighty to serve these people, even the ones He knew would sin against Him later. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves acting like we are too good to do any of this. When I look around, I see more people pretending to be kings than practicing being servants. Are we greater than Jesus? He said, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16) If Jesus, in all His magnificence, can become like a servant, then we, who are not any greater than Jesus, can do the same. Many of us need to lay down our crowns and take up our towels. Jesus was the only One who truly had every right to wear a crown, but yet He still wore a towel.

Sometimes, it’s hard to humble yourself, and I understand that. This is not just me talking to you about your pride problem. I am talking to myself more than I am talking to anyone else. I don’t know your ego, but I am very familiar with my own. I have felt the clash between my pride and what God asks me to do so many times, and I know it’s hard. In the end, however, I believe it is worth it.

If I could go back in time and see Jesus washing those disciples’ feet, I imagine I would see Him doing it with a smile. He loved them, so washing their feet was not a problem. I am sure Jesus wasn’t a huge fan of dirty feet, but He loved His disciples. As we grow to love God more, we will grow to love serving Him more. I have found that I will do things that gross me out, freak me out, stress me out, all because I love God, and I am happy to be His servant. Just a few days ago, I went and helped a church clean out their basement, so they could use it for more Sunday school rooms. I was bleeding (long story), sweaty, and tired. Though this wasn’t a big deal at all, I can assure you, if I didn’t have Christ in my life, I would have been there doing it. There are things that I honestly do not like doing, but if I am doing it for The Lord, I find myself being willing, and even happy, to do those things. I ended up having a great time going through junk in a church basement, just as I think Jesus had a good time washing the disciples dirty feet. If I can suppress my pride and focus on Jesus, I start to enjoy any assignment God gives me, no matter what it is. In other words, as I let go of my crowns, my towel becomes more comfortable. And this has nothing to do with me and my ability to love God, it has everything to do with Jesus and His ability to love a sinner like me. For I love Him because He first loved me. (1 John 4:19) I serve Him because He first served me. God made the first move here. I am simply responding to the love He has already shown me.

So, I urge you, friends, to live like a servant. Look around for hurting people that you can help. Follow Jesus’ example. I am talking to myself, as well. I have so much to learn about serving, but luckily, I have the greatest Teacher. So I pray that me and you both will take up our towels and serve God with a new passion.

If you have any questions, comments, or prayer request feel free to email me at christy@tonynolan.org or just leave a comment below. Or you can always stay in touch with me and the blog via twitter or Instagram (@christyanolan). Thanks for reading and God bless.


One thought on “Take Up Your Towel

  1. Love this post on your blog. Very well stated. We should all carry a towel as a reminder that we were saved to serve. I’m blessed by you!

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