ヨハネによる福音書13:1-11 John 13:1-11
On the evening of the day before his crucifixion, Jesus ate a meal called the Last Supper with his disciples. In that meal, he instituted the sacrament of holy communion to commemorate his crucifixion. He shared the bread, saying, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Also, he shared wine saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” This is why our church also commemorates the cross of Jesus with a communion service every month.
Before this “Last Supper,” Jesus did a very wonderful thing and gave his disciples an important lesson. Before the meal, Jesus washed the feet of each of his disciples. In New Testament times, people walked outside in bare feet and sandals. The roads were usually not paved, so when they came into the house from outside, their feet were dirty with dirt and mud. So the slaves of the house put the feet of their masters and guests in a basin and washed them by pouring water over them with a pail and wiping them clean with a towel. Jesus did this slave work for the disciples.
The disciples must have been astonished. However, they had their feet washed without saying a word because that is what Jesus did. However, Peter, who could not keep silent at a time like this, asked, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” He must have thought that the disciple should wash the teacher’s feet, but Jesus was doing the opposite. Jesus replied, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” However, Peter was not satisfied with this answer and said, “You shall never wash my feet.”
What did Jesus say? Would he have said, “Then I will not wash your feet”? No, he did not say like that. On the contrary, Jesus clearly said to Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” In other words, Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet was a sign that he was about to die on the cross to offer them forgiveness for their sins and to cleanse them. Therefore, to refuse to allow Jesus to wash their feet would be to reject the salvation of the cross of Jesus. I wonder if Peter understood that when Jesus told him… I am sure he did not understand. But after Jesus died on the cross and rose again, he would have understood the salvation of Jesus and the meaning of the washing of his feet.
Washing people’s feet like a slave is hard work. But to die on the cross for the sins of others is much harder and more painful. Jesus did it. It was the most precious service that only Jesus could do. When you think of “service,” what do you think of? Sending money to people suffering from disasters or giving food to those who are in need is a great service. It is also important to serve in various ways in the church for worship and evangelism. But you must not feel like, “I’m doing so much service, I must be great!” That is not what Jesus taught. By washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus expressed the salvation of the cross and taught them that service should be done with a humble heart.