During the Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples, he served them by washing their feet. John tells us that Jesus knew what was going to happen in the next few hours. He was aware that “he had come from God and was going back to God.” (John 13:3) In that moment, Jesus choose to be a servant.
It would have been a normal human reaction to think solely of oneself in a moment as critical as that. And yet, Jesus got up from the table, wrapped himself in a towel, and began to wash the feet of his disciples. Washing feet was the job of a servant – a low level servant. He was clear about what he was doing. He was giving them an example to follow. “A servant is not greater than his master.” (John 13:16)
Easter has fallen in the middle of this strange season of disease. As Christians, we will celebrate his death and resurrection from our homes rather than gathered together as a congregation. We will remind ourselves of the work Jesus has done and the victory over sin he has won. It is important that we also remember his example of servanthood and encouragement to us to “do just as I have done.” (John 13:15)
Our service towards others looks a lot like self-denial – that is, putting others first. I am grateful for those working today in transportation, grocery stores and above all in hospitals and medical clinics. These people are putting themselves at risk for the good of our society.
Others are serving the community by staying home and practicing social distancing, no less important during a pandemic. In our homes, we serve one another by speaking words of kindness, doing our chores and putting the needs of others before ours.
It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves on these beautiful spring days when we are isolated from our usual life. We follow Jesus the Son of Man who came to serve. Even in this time of quarantine, we have been given life so that we might serve others. It looks different from what we are used to, but the calling is the same.