"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...When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' He asked them...'Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet...I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.'" (John 13:5, 12-17)
It was not normal for a Teacher to humble himself before his disciples. But Jesus was not your "everyday" teacher. He came from the Kingdom of God Almighty--an upside-down kingdom in the eyes of the world. The religious leaders of His day despised and rejected Jesus. (Isaiah 53:3) What He was about to do would be the greatest act of humility and sacrifice ever done. He knelt before His Father and allowed humankind to pierce and crush Him so that Father God's plan to save those who persecuted Him could move forward. Isaiah says, "Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand." (Isaiah 53:10)
Jesus took the punishment that we deserved for our sins upon His own body. The LORD'S plan was meant to bless us. The Hebrew word for bless is barach. It is God's nature and desire to bless us. There are no lengths that He will not go to bless us, including humbling Himself before all of humankind to bring us into His Kingdom. Jonathan Cahn, in his Book of Mysteries, calls Him "The Kneeling God." He says, "And to give us the greatest blessing would require the greatest lowering...the greatest descending. So, He descended to this world and humbled Himself in the form of man. And to kneel is also to submit, and so He submitted Himself to man's mockery, abuse and condemnation. He submitted Himself to judgment, to crucifixion, and to death--the ultimate lowering...the cosmic kneeling...the kneeling of the Almighty. And yet, in that ultimate kneeling comes the ultimate barach, the blessing, salvation. To bless is to kneel. And He who kneels is He who blesses. And by His kneeling...we are blessed."
Jesus had to kneel to wash the feet of His disciples. He demonstrated a lifestyle of humility as He walked the earth. God's desire to bless us ultimately led to the Cross--the highest example of kneeling, of submitting. Philippians 2:6-11 tells the story: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Today we celebrate the victory of the Cross--the Risen Christ! What that means for us as Believers is that we have been given the victory over sin and sickness and disease and death. Yet, let us remember that the path to victory begins by kneeling, an act of humility. Let us submit ourselves to the Lord. "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care..." (Psalm 95:6-7)
Joan E. Mathias