As Jesus and the disciples were finishing supper, Jesus began to do something that left the disciples puzzled at first. John 13:4-5 tells us, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (KJV) What was Jesus doing? He took on the job of a servant by washing the disciples’ feet. He was leading by example.
Jesus goes on to explain just what He did and taught them one last time about how they are to be servants. All along Jesus taught that, as Believers, we are to humble ourselves, just as servants do, and put others before ourselves. The disciples at other times would argue among themselves about who was greater, and Jesus had to reprimand them, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;” (Matthew 20:25-28 NASB 1995)
In our natural mind, we tend to look at servanthood as something to be looked down upon. It isn’t our first choice for a career. But Jesus showed us by example that being a servant is not something to be snubbed, but something that is of value and at the same time shows the Christian attitude of love toward others. Jesus showed compassion for those who were in need. He was quick to respond to their needs. Even the way He came to earth was not from an elevated position, He came in a lowly manner. Though He is the King of Kings, He wasn’t born in a palace to royalty, but in a stable to a poor couple from the least desirable city in Israel. All through His teaching He showed a servant’s heart by helping people come to faith in God, healing the sick, and showing an unselfish attitude in everything He said and did.
The position of a servant gives us opportunities to help those around us who find themselves in demanding situations. Do you know someone who is struggling financially? That could be an opportunity for you to show them love, by giving them a little money to help get food, and in that way, you are serving them with your generosity. Some may be struggling with self-esteem, which may be a chance for you to show them love by encouraging them in something they enjoy doing. Some may be dealing with health issues; you can pray for them and help them with going to doctor’s appointments if they don’t have transportation. All of these are ways to show a servant’s heart.
In our Christian walk, we are to follow Jesus’ example. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV) Our mindset should be one of humility, putting others’ needs before our own and showing them love. In that way, we are Jesus’ hands and feet to those around us and show our servant’s heart to them.