Contemporary English Version (CEV)
How big of a hurry are you in to wash the floor? How about cleaning the back of the refrigerator? Anybody here like to clean out the garbage can?
We don't get excited about cleaning. I don't think most people do. I doubt that Jesus was necessarily excited about the cleaning of people's feet in and of itself -- what Jesus was interested in was assuming the role of a servant and demonstrating the love of the Father.
In these times, people's feet got really dirty. Think about all the things that were in the road -- not just dirt and mud, but people were probably constantly stepping in detritus left by passing animals. There was just stuff everywhere, and I don't think most people were using Gold Bond to keep their feet dry. It would have been refreshing to have your feet washed, but not pleasant for the washer.
But Jesus wasn't thinking of himself. He was demonstrating a type of love that doesn't think of the self -- it thinks of the other. It demonstrates the ability to put the needs of another first, even if it involves discomfort for the self. Jesus shows us how to love purely and simply -- by doing for another, even if it means not doing something pleasant.
So what does this mean for us today? As most of us don't have feet as dirty as a 1st century Jew would have, I think it means a willingness to set aside our own wants and desires and think of the other. What does love of another cost us, and when it comes time to pay up, are we willing to pay that cost, or do we slink off because we don't want to be inconvenienced? Are we willing to give up something to demonstrate love?
God gave up everything to show us the depths of his love. May we be in awe of God's love and try to follow that demonstration each and every day.