For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
-1 Corinthians 11:23-24
In the gospel for tonight, Jesus begins the Passover feast with the famous foot-washing. He bows down before his brothers and does the work even a servant would not normally do. Peter is obviously uncomfortable with the idea of this, and becomes visibly resistant. He would not let Jesus stoop below him. Master should not serve the servants.
While Peter may appear to be acting with humility in this scene, we can question his real feelings about this. Was his heart in the right place to tell Jesus what to do? If his intention was to respect his master, why did he speak out against what his master had already been doing? It seems that Peter may have been reaching for an appearance of holiness, and lacked trust in what Jesus was about to do.
I often find myself striving to look humble before God. It’s as if I pretend that Jesus does not see the parts of me that I hide. I think, maybe if I beg louder, or do more good I will get his attention. The truth is, God’s heart is inclined towards us, and He joyfully hears every prayer. The problem is NOT our inability to impress God. The problem IS the lack of trust we place in God. By focusing on how we are appearing to others, our outer cleanliness, or even how we appear to God, we waste our chances to copy Jesus and His model of inner humility and outward service.
Jesus asks his apostles to trust in him, to let him wash their feet, modeling a way of life. A simple invitation to live life differently. We have seen many of the apostles take up this model, trusting in Jesus, and living a life of self-giving and serving others. These great answers to Jesus have been written down and passed on through generations of the church and its saints.
What is unwritten, is our own answer.