- the command to serve one another, as he served the disciples when he washed their feet
- the new commandment – to love one another as Jesus has loved us
- the command to offer the Eucharist – ‘do this in remembrance of Me’.
Alyce McKenzie, in an article on Patheos, says this about the footwashing:
…to allow Jesus to touch our feet is to allow him to touch our will. We all have a mind; we all have emotions; and we all have a will—our decision making power. Our feet are how we put our decisions in motion and get places, do things. We can think about doing something. “I think I’ll go to her father’s memorial service out of respect for her.” We can feel we ought to do something. “I have a feeling it would be a good thing to do.” But if we are going to actually show up and walk up to her afterward and offer a comforting embrace, our feet have to be involved.
To allow Jesus to cleanse our feet is to remove all that prevents us from using our feet to follow him. To scrub away our insecurities, to wash away our weariness, to buff off our bitterness…
If we don’t allow him to cleanse our feet, our story with him stops now. The week goes on, but we have chosen darkness rather than light. Jesus’ words to Peter are also addressed to us: “Unless I wash you, you have no share in me” (Jn. 13:8).
Not everybody in this story wants Jesus’ hands on their feet. Peter didn’t. Pilate didn’t. Caiaphas didn’t. Pilate chose to use his feet to pace about his palace, back and forth in front of his medicine cabinet, searching for some salve for his sore conscience. Peter chose to use his feet to stand by a fire warming himself while denying his Lord.
Just before this foot-washing scene, Jesus says to his disciples, “Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.”
It is the Son of God who takes off his outer robe, ties a towel around himself, and now kneels before you requesting the honor of washing your feet in the hopes that, this year, he will not have to walk the hard, uphill road that lies before him all by himself.