Beside Still Waters: Love still washes feet

Therese Apel

Screenshot: Super Bowl commercial.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’” – Matthew 25:41-43

I like the verses that came before this very much more, the ones about how Jesus will say to those who loved others as He commanded us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

But incidentally, this part of my “New Testament in a Year” Bible study came on Super Bowl Sunday, and I think it applies perfectly. I’ve been pointing out the existence of modern-day Pharisees for months now, and I really think the Jesus commercial has brought that discussion full circle. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.

Almost immediately after it aired, I saw people commenting about how maybe it’s “a liberal agenda hiding behind Christianity.” (If that’s an actual liberal agenda, maybe I should be a liberal, because I want politicians that openly and honestly love and serve the least of these.) One guy said Jesus ONLY washed His disciples’ feet (not necessarily true). When I wrote about how the commercial is EXACTLY what Jesus commanded, there were a lot of people who were in agreement, but some who were more concerned about where a Christian organization got the money to pay for a $7 million spot in the Super Bowl, and how many people could have been helped with that money otherwise.

It’s okay, some people are very fiscally minded. But so were the Pharisees. So was the rich young ruler.
So was Judas.

Screenshot: Super Bowl commercial.

How do we put a price on one soul? The police officer somewhere in America who might wash the feet of someone he comes across this week could save more souls than any soup ministry — you don’t know. The social worker in the hoarder’s house, crying with her on the floor. The woman who goes to the protest at the abortion clinic to actually love the young women walking in, thinking it’s their only option.

Take it farther than the commercial. The kid who saw it and goes into the lunchroom today and sits with the little boy nobody will talk to. The person who shares their lunch with the homeless man on the street corner.

Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations. He told us to go forth to the world — Jews and Gentiles — and love. THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.

We read about the miracles of the loaves and fish all the time. What makes us think God can’t help all the people $7 million would cover and expontentially more because of the good will a little marketing can turn up? There wasn’t a Super Bowl when Jesus was on earth, but I think that commercial was a perfect way to start discussions about who He is and who His people are.

He went to the lowly and the meek because the rich and powerful were generally too concerned with their own wealth and status to receive the message. But He gives us the choice: Anyone who receives Him can have eternal life. Anyone.

Washing feet is the ultimate example of servanthood, and the commercial wasn’t about the ACT of washing feet. It was about the love and service that goes into it. The act of elevating someone’s humanity above our fears and prejudices. The idea that we are all equal, regardless of our stations in life.

I’m not condemning you if you had a different reaction to that commercial, but I’m asking you to watch it again and think about who Jesus was. If you don’t know, read the Gospels ALL the way through, for real this time, and see how much He loved, how much He WAS Love. Every time the disciples would ask if their resources were better spent doing something other than loving people, His answer was no.

How many people will be talking about this commercial today? How will you relate to those around you?

I DARE YOU, with all the boldness and earnestness in my heart, to go out and BE LOVE. Whatever that looks like. Sometimes it looks like just exactly like washing feet. ❤️

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