Written by Matthew Thompson
John 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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.
Jesus was known for doing the unexpected. Taking a casual stroll across a lake, sleeping through a tempest and then rising to calm it with a spoken word, speaking to a Samaritan woman, eating with tax collectors, multiplying a Filet O’ Fish thousands of times over, the list of unique ways Jesus had of conducting Himself is without end. The Last Supper was no exception.
In this passage John creates a paradox. Jesus knows He is about to be betrayed. He knows that He has full power on earth and is returning to heaven, and His response to that knowledge is to get up from the meal while it is still going on and to begin ministering to His disciples. In doing this Jesus is showing us two things. One, that He is intentional in His mission to offer Himself fully to redeem His people. And two, that we NEVER graduate from serving others.
Christ Himself, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the one we imitate when we say we are trying to be Christlike, gave up the seat of honor, gave up finishing His plate, gave up being served in order to become a servant.