“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Jesus had gone on to explain that he was giving them an example, and that they should wash one another’s feet, so they had almost forgotten that promise of later understanding. Until it happened.
It happened differently for each of them, but it happened to all of them. Peter, Andrew, James, John — each of them, sooner or later, visited the home of a friend, and was offered the customary welcome of a guest.
John was conversing amiably with his friend when the servant came in to wash his feet, but broke off in mid-sentence. He couldn’t disregard the servant and keep his attention on his host, as good manners required. How could he? The last time anyone had washed his feet, it had been Jesus. The memories washed over him: Jesus, his beloved friend and teacher… Jesus, who was seized from them, beaten, and crucified. Jesus, whose death was the death of all their hope… whose resurrection was the astonishing confirmation of it. Jesus, the Lord, the Anointed One, the Son of God. Had washed his feet.
John touched the servant lightly on the arm, interrupting his ministrations, and the youth looked up, startled. “What’s your name?” John asked, meeting his gaze.
“M..Matthias, my lord,” he stammered
“I am not your lord,” the apostle replied gently. “My name is John. Thank you for washing my feet.”