“He got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” John 13:4-5 NLT
Nearly two millennia ago, on one of the most profound evenings in all of human history, the two most powerful tools in human history were unveiled.
They aren’t what you or I might envision.
They aren’t a hammer and nails….but they hold together just as tight.
They aren’t a saw and ruler…but they build foundations just as perfect and plumb.
They aren’t the wheel or engine…but they provide the power to go any distance.
Revealed when the God-Made-Man rose from His final meal on earth and took the posture of the lowliest of slaves, the tools were some of the most unlikely, and most transformational, of all:
A towel and a basin.
Why? I’m glad you asked.
A towel and basin were reserved, in that culture, for the lowliest of all slaves. It was the ‘dirty work,’ assumed by the despised, rejected, and mistreated. Only the worst of the worst were subject to washing the dirty, dusty, smelly, sweaty feet of the weary traveler.
And yet, on His final night on this earth….that’s what our God did.
How do we know the power these two items wield?
Because of when our Savior chose to pick them up.
They say that a person’s final words and actions often reveal that which is most important to them. Jesus’ final hours are no different.
He wasn’t out in the public square, healing the sick…
He wasn’t in the temple, logically arguing with the Pharisees…
He wasn’t planning a Roman government Revolution…
He wasn’t even spending the evening with His family, His mother & brothers in Nazareth.
He was in the Upper Room, with His twelve disciples, knowing one of them was a traitor.
He was observing the Feast that typified His very own imminent sacrifice.
And He was using the towel and basin to wash His disciples’ sandy, dirty feet.
The towel and basin of Christ on that Last Supper night reveals to us just how incredibly precious servant-hearted compassion is to the heart of our God.
If, in His final hours of freedom, Jesus reached for the towel and basin…how much more should we!
What does a “towel-and-basin” character look like in the 21st century?
It is meeting others’ needs, no matter how lowly.
Caring for others, no matter the stigma.
Showing love to everyone – even our traitors and deniers.
It is living a lifestyle of selfless love, no matter what.
This Passion Week, I challenge you:
Find your towel and basin.
Gird your waist.
Get your hands wet.
And serve those around you. Love those around you.
It just might change the world.