My husband travels quite a bit for his job. About once a year, I get to tag along to one of his conferences, usually hosted at a very fancy hotel. When we arrive all weary and travel-worn, we are greeted by staff who open our doors, carry our luggage, and hand us beverages and cookies. Then, each day staff come to clean our room, make our bed, and replenish snacks. At times, it seems as if they anticipate our every need before we do. They hand out sunscreen, beach chairs, and towels as well as arrange rides as we head to the beach, and they provide cold beverages as we return. Each staff member is focused on the guests and how to best fulfill their needs at any given moment.
In our reading today, Jesus, the King of the universe, takes on the very nature of a hotel staff member or servant as He anticipates and fulfills the needs of His disciples. His travel-worn disciples all end up in the upper room too tired to serve one another or Him, so Jesus takes a towel and basin of water and begins to wash their dirty feet. As he washes away the dirt and grime of the trip, He shows them that just as He washes their feet and makes them clean, He would do the same with their hearts as He hung on the cross not a week later. In Philippians 2:5-8, we read that Jesus, who is God, came down to earth as a servant. He was fully God yet did not use His position to His own advantage. Instead He gave up His life on behalf of mankind to fulfill their greatest need. Out of His great love, He provided the way for them — and for us today — to live with Him forever (Romans 5). Jesus did much more for us than any hotel staff, amazing as they are, could do for us, for He, our servant King, meets not just our physical needs but the deepest needs of our souls.
Ponder: When was a time that someone served you? What did it look like and how did it make you feel? When was a time that you served someone else? Jesus served His disciples and mankind with His time here on earth. How does Jesus demonstrate that He is both servant and King?
Pray: Father, You are God of the universe and did not have to come down as a baby to serve me and the rest of mankind, yet You did. You humbled Yourself and served those You loved even unto death. Thank You for being powerful enough to be King and humble and gentle enough to serve. Help me to follow in Your footsteps. Make me more like You and help me to love and serve others with the same kind of gentleness and humility toward others, to shine Your light, and to be a beacon of hope to all with whom I come into contact. Amen.
— Jamie Harms