Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

The Human Side of Jesus


Jesus_Washing_the_Feet_of_his_Disciples_(Albert_Edelfelt)_-_Nationalmuseum_-_18677.tif.jpg Wikimedia commons

Painting by Albert Edelfelt 1854-1905

Tonight at my church, someone’s going to wash my feet. Then I’ll wash someone else’s feet. In the past, I’ve skipped this ceremony in our “Maundy Thursday” service, mainly because Holy Week is so busy. I figured Wednesday potluck, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday was enough. But singing in the choir, it’s my responsibility to be there. So, I decided to look deeper into this foot washing business.

Jesus washed his disciples feet during the time of Passover when he knew his time on this earth was coming to an end.

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.  John 13:1 (NLT)

It is this love that pulls me in to Jesus. Like the humility that comes next.

After supper, Jesus took off his outer robe, tied a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he washed his disciples feet and dried them with the towel. (John 13: 4-5)

The foot washing was a expression of love and servitude. A precursor to the ultimate act of love to come. The disciples were no doubt embarrassed by their leader and teacher performing such a humble and personal service. But Jesus told them that, later, they would understand.

(How often has it taken me years for to understand the significance of events that once baffled me?)

Then Jesus gives them the mandate from which the word Maundy comes in tonight’s service:

And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.                 John 13: 14-15 (NLT)

Jesus is telling his disciples to be of humble service to each other. I believe he intended us to serve one another. But he is willing to be first. He used his humanity to set an example.

There are many other times when Jesus showed his humanity.  One was in the garden of Gethsemane.  He asked the disciples to stay and watch with him. But they fell asleep. Then Jesus prays.

 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26: 39 (NLT)

It sounds to me like Jesus was scared. He knew what was coming and he felt real human fear. Yet, he wanted God’s will to be done, understanding and trusting, that God had a much bigger plan.

This scene from Gethsemane is depicted in the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Some people may criticize the movie for not being strictly in line with the Bible, but it opened my heart many years ago at a time when my mind was firmly agnostic. That’s why I did a series on the movie a couple years ago and would like to share the Gethsemane post again.

I know Jesus is much more than human, but for me, his humanity is what made and makes him more accessible.

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

19 thoughts on “The Human Side of Jesus

  1. Such a wonderful explanation.. And I am sure you will all enjoy this ceremony this evening in your church JoAnna.. I have always been enthralled with the story of Jesus.. And to his giving of service to others as well as his ultimate sacrifice of his life.
    Have a Blessed Easter 🙂

  2. Whenever I look beyond religion and into the life of Jesus and my relationship with his spirit, I am enthralled, to borrow Sue’s word.

  3. What a beautiful post, JoAnna. He taught us so much about Love, Service and Humility. He had such courage through his fear and accomplished what he came to do. Such an amazing example. I’m glad you “looked deeper into this foot washing business” and shared it with us. I remember having a similar ceremony at my church as a kid. I always loved the acting out of things there. It touches a deeper level, I think. I loved Jesus Christ Superstar – the play and the movie. The play, Godspell, for me was huge too. Have a beautiful Easter, JoAnna. ❤

    • I agree about acting things out so our body can feel the experience. Listening is okay, seeing is better, and doing creates understanding. Thank you for the good wishes and for sharing your sweet experience. I hope you have a beautiful Easter, too, Mary ❤

  4. That was a great movie, and helped me understand the enormity of Holy Week and what exactly was at stake. I never saw it in color (we only had a black-and-white TV), so the color of his eyes never bothered me.

  5. (Not a religious person, but definitely a fan of Christ-like behavior.)
    Anyway, I like things like this, and hearing other people talk about the foot washing, because it IS a service of sincere humility. Humility is such a poorly-rated quality in our society. We’re told to upsell ourselves as a show of strength — but strength, and real leadership is often best displayed in service.

    My MIL loves to have her feet washed and rubbed but my FIL hates feet. 😦 Now and again I kneel before her with my humility (and deep gratitude) Her whole life is one of service to others.

    • I appreciate your thoughtful comments, Joey. Christ-like behavior is way more valuable, to me, than religion. My favorite pastor, Dan, is a man of humility. He did most of the foot washing tonight with care and diligence. It was a small turnout and some people (mostly men) declined to have their feet washed, which was okay. I agree that leadership is often more about service. Also about setting an example. I’m glad we both have people of so much service and humility in our lives.

  6. beautiful revelation
    for Easter 🙂

  7. Interesting to read how some people emphasise Jesus humanity, others his divinity. Good read. Thank you for this.

  8. I can totally understand the awkwardness of letting someone wash our feet – it isn’t culturally relevant. It feels more like public humiliation than an act of humble service. So I put myself through a mental exercise to think what would washing feet look like today? I came up with washing dishes for someone, or washing their car – doing something humble that actually helps them but also puts yourself in a position of service instead of expecting to be served!

  9. Wonderfully written 👌🏻👍🏻

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