Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.
So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.
Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. John 13:3-5 HCSB
Let me put this another way in hopes of showing the magnitude of this moment. Upon getting the news that you have been given all authority over everything and with the assurance that you will be going back to that glorious place of power that you came from. You take off your suit jacket and fill up a bucket with water and wash the dirty smelly feet of those who serve under you!
This is an unheard of concept in a “dog-eat-dog” world of business today. People vie for position each day just waiting for a missed step by the competition or an opening to outdo the other guy. Climbing the ladder of success almost implies stepping on the people under you. But Gods’ ways are not our ways (Isa.55:8) and we see each member of the Trinity placing the other above Themselves. Jesus always directed peoples attention from Himself to the Father (John 5:30, Luke 18:19). The Father praised the Son on more than one occasion (Matt 3:17 & 17:5). The Holy Spirits job description includes not speaking of Himself but bringing all things which Jesus said to our remembrance (John 16:13). It is just Gods way to redirect flattery and give praise to another before yourself. John knew this so well that he doesn’t even refer to himself, by name, in the Gospel he wrote.
Paul encourages us to humble ourselves as we care for each other – Bear one anothers’ burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal 6:2-3 NKJV
Finally, when you consider that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples after eating the Last Supper with them, knowing the humiliation and pain that was just outside the door, it amplifies the event. Rather than feeling sorry for Himself or encouraging His disciples to take care of Him because He was about to be beaten, ridiculed, mocked and put to death, Jesus performed the act reserved for the lowliest of servants. Humbling Himself before giving His life for us was an act of love and an example for us all to follow.
This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.
No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:12-14 HCSB