“He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel” (John 13:5).
This is what is meant by Jesus taking upon Himself the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). Christ did not wash His disciples’s feet for show or pretense, but to meet a need and set an example: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).
At the moment we trust Christ for salvation, we are washed—once, definitely and irrevocably. But we need a daily cleansing to maintain happy fellowship with God. Our spiritual feet become soiled with dirt, our hands become grimy, and our lips and ears are fouled by an endless stream of idle, ungracious, and faithless words.
It is important that we come often to Christ for cleaning. But we should also care for our fellow believers, humbly working to restore them to purity as well. Sadly, while we are conscious of the imperfections of Christians around us, we are too often content to note, criticize, and discuss them. But we dare not attempt to remove them. This failure arises partly because we do not love with a love like Christ’s—a love which will brave resentment, annoyance, and rebuke—and partly because we are not willing to stoop low enough.
None can remove the mote of another, so long as the beam is left in the eye, and the sin unjudged in the life (Matthew 7:1-5). None can cleanse the stain, who is not willing to take the form of a servant, and humble himself for the task at hand. None is able to restore those that are overtaken in a fault, who does not count himself the chief of sinners and the least of saints.
We need more of this lowly, loving spirit. Let us therefore watch for each other’s souls: let us consider one another to provoke to love and good works. Let us in all sincerity do as Christ has done, washing each other’s feet in all humility and tender love.
—F. B. Meyer, adapted.