On Thursday of Holy Week, we decided to act out a scene found in the Gospel of John. Jesus used an object lesson to teach his disciples about humility and serving others.
Before breakfast, I set up a washing station with towels and plastic chairs. This made the kids very curious and interested to hear what we were going to do next.
I began by giving them the back-story of what was going on in the Upper Room. Luke 22 describes a scene in which the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among them. Who would get to sit next to Jesus? Who would be honored and given a high rank? We talked about what this must have sounded and looked like to Jesus and some ways that we act like this today.
Luke 22:24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.“
I then told them about how, in Jesus’ time, the streets were dusty and dirty and everyone wore sandals. When they came to dinner, their feet were very dirty. Then we turned to the Gospel of John and I read about Jesus’ amazing act in chapter 13.
John 13:3 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.
I got up from the table and filled a wash tub with water and then tied a towel around my waist. Then I read more…
John 13:5 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.
I called the kids over to sit in the plastic chairs and began washing their feet. The water was cold by that point so I had to pause and refill the tub with warm water (Jesus probably didn’t do that :)).
Then I skipped down and read John 13:12-17:
John 13:12 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. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
We talked about how Jesus tells us to wash each others’ feet. Bud went first and washed my feet, then Peanut’s feet, and then the baby’s feet. Then Peanut proceeded down the line and washed all of our feet.
It was wonderful to hear their giggles and see smiles as they washed one anothers’ feet. Hopefully it will become a Maundy Thursday tradition in our house in years to come.