The Towel

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he 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.


He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John 13:3-7


I thought that I had seen it all. Amazing miracles. Enough food to feed a massive stadium full of people with one little boy’s lunch. Blind men seeing. Lame people walking. Demonized people brought to sanity. He walked on water. He calmed a storm. A good friend who died and was in his tomb came back to life.

I thought I had seen it all, that is, until this. We were preparing to eat a Passover meal. It was meant to be a feast, a special gathering that we do every year to remember what God did to give us an identity as His beloved children. However, just before we ate dinner, Jesus picked up a towel. Just seven days before he had raised Lazarus from the dead.  Only five days ago he was welcomed into Jerusalem as a hero with a parade of palm branches. People were shouting in the streets like he was a celebrity. It was that Jesus who here and now wraps a towel around his waist and washes my feet.

That might not mean much to you, but to me that means a lot. This man is my hero, the one I have followed and grown to love, the one I believe to be my Savior and the Messiah of all the world.  This towel around his waist means Jesus is taking the most undignified job of them all—washing my stinky, smelly feet. I am not sure I want him to wash my feet. I protest, but He insists. I am not worthy of this.  I am not good enough. I am just a fisherman, and I do not understand what Jesus is doing.

He says I will later understand as he wipes my feet with the towel.  I see my dirty feet are now clean from all the dust and dirt of the road I have walked. In fact, I have never seen them that clean before. He says I will later understand, and I hope I will. I have never met anyone like Jesus before.


Today’s Prayer:  God, help me to understand the significance of You taking on a servant’s role to wash Peter’s feet.  Help me to know what following You looks like as You wash the dirt from my life each and every day.  I want to serve others in the same way that You chose to serve me and lay Your life down for my sake. Help me to see how I can even serve others today so that they might experience You more.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


David and Ginger McPherson


One thought on “The Towel

  1. Nicki says:

    Love this. It seems as if our society is always waiting to be served. Even in the Christian world we wait to be served. Who are you seeking to serve? Jesus was not served but served others-rich and poor, weak and strong. Who are you serving today?

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