How do you picture Jesus during His time on earth? Do you picture Him as being an all-knowing King, therefore never being surprised? Do you picture Him being a leader and walking in front of the disciples instead of behind or beside? Do you picture the disciples catering to Him instead of Him catering to them? I know sometimes it is easy to forget how real Jesus is and was during His time on earth. It’s easy to imagine Him as being so holy that of course He acted as royalty. Wearing nice clothes, nice shoes, bathing twice a day, and wearing nice jewelry.
The good news is Jesus isn’t like any of those things, He’s more real than that.
The bible gives us the most beautiful picture of who Jesus was and how He lived his life in John chapter 13.
It was the Feast of the Passover and, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
If you sit in this passage and really imagine what’s happening here you’ll see our God taking off his clothes, wrapping only a towel around his waist, getting on his knees, and washing his children’s feet with his own two hands. You’d see Him on the floor and them in the chairs.
And if we get even more real, there wasn’t silence in the room. People were bewildered at this sight! This, at the time, was a duty of the meanest or lowest slave. There was talk going on around the room about this peculiar man and his peculiar actions.
In the midst of it all I imagine Jesus being so sweet and kind during this moment. The crucifixion was coming up quickly and He was preparing his children to be sent out. He was probably saying, “John, you are stronger than you think you are, be brave and don’t be afraid. I am always with you.” or “Matthew, I love you so much.” and “Peter, don’t be sad, I’ll never leave you.”
Most of all, Jesus was becoming a servant to His disciples. He was tangibly showing them what it looks like to love and serve others. He was being a leader by becoming last and challenged us to do the same. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (verse 15).
If you ever forget Jesus’ character, take a look in John chapter 13.
This is the man we call Abba Father.
The one with the towel around his waist and dirt under his nails.