Cover Story, Online edition!

A Night to Remember, “Then Jesus walked in…”


Darkness was setting in. The street they walked on through the city was dirty, like a dusty path. They knew someone would be at the house to wash their feet before dinner. Foot washing. A menial task. Only a slave, who had no choice, would stoop to wash someone’s feet. Real men don’t wash feet.

The group’s leader was unusually quiet that night. He had been for several weeks, like something was bothering Him, troubling Him. The others were too much into themselves to ask Him what it was or if they could help.

Arriving at the house, no foot washer greeted them. Weird. It was customary, like washing your hands, but the paid guy didn’t show. Also, it was customary for one of the guests to wash the feet of the others if there was no servant, but no one stepped forward. Maybe they thought:

“I’ll wash hands, not feet.”
“I’m not a servant. Foot washing is for the lower class.”
“I have a bad back. Doctor told me not to bend over.”

Ignoring the opportunity to serve, each hurried off to recline next to the host.

THEN JESUS WALKED IN. I wonder what He thought as He saw the dirty feet of His disciples. He may have remembered some sermons, challenges, teachings, His own example about serving. “Did it do any good?” When He sat down, did He think:

“My death is imminent; just a few more hours.”
“Will no one have the humility to wash even my feet?”
“Will no one serve Me?”

When no one made a move, Jesus made His. Quietly, as the others were eating, He slipped away from the table, pulled off His outer robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water into a basin, then washed and dried the dirty feet of each disciple. No fanfare, no bells and whistles, no hype, no media, no texting, no twitter, no attention drawn to Himself.

Jesus made a decision to wash feet and we’re still talking about it today. The disciples were into themselves, not the needs of others. They looked for reasons to say no, unwilling to stoop down and serve, even the Lord Jesus.

One lesson for leaders is that it doesn’t take much to make an impression. Be on the lookout for opportunities to serve, to go the extra mile, to do the menial. It might turn out to be a really big deal that people remember and talk about.

Something else. Jesus even washed the feet of Judas. Would you wash the feet of one who betrays you, ridicules you, criticizes you, ignores you, speaks against you, dislikes you? Jesus did. Will you?

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is