John 13:12-16 NRSVue
12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had reclined again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, slaves are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Where the other three gospels describe the Eucharist, John substitutes the washing of the feet. Why? From the beginning Christians have argued about the Eucharist; but works of service put us all on a level with Jesus, beyond argument. What used to be called menial work is no longer the job of slaves but the most secure way to God. Jesus has turned it from slave-work into an expression of love. Jesus kneeling with a towel round his waist is pointing to that aspect of Christianity in which there is no hierarchy, and the only rule is to meet the needs of others.