Now That's an Amazing Feet!
How ‘bout those Villanova Wildcats?! UNBELIEVABLE!... SHOCKING!!... ASTONISHING!!! And THEN they went out and won the NCAA National Championship. Oh… did you think I was describing that crazy 3-pointer made with less than a second left in the game? That was pretty cool too. But I’m talking about what you would have witnessed had you been in the locker room just before Villanova’s Sweet 16 victory on March 24th. You would have seen the Wildcats washing each others’ feet! How I wish there was a replay on that!
It was Maundy Thursday. The team was gearing up for their game against Miami when Villanova’s Associate Athletic Director and Chaplain, Robert Hagan, asked each member of the team—everyone from starters to walk-ons—to wash another player's feet.
...He got up from the meal, removed His outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around Himself. He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel He had wrapped around himself.
(John 13:4-5, NET)
If you were a 1st Century Jewish “fly on the wall” in that upper room, you would have thought you were hallucinating. Jesus… rabbi, teacher, revolutionary, self-proclaimed Son of God... kneeling to wash the feet of cultural outcasts? MIND-BLOWING!
In those days, people wore sandals. There were no paved roads or sidewalks, so their feet got dirty… really dirty. It was customary for a host to order a servant to wash his guests’ feet. The task was so degrading that even Hebrew slaves were spared the humiliation of cleansing filthy, stinky feet.
Yet Jesus took it upon Himself.
So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and do so correctly, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another's feet... I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:12-17, NET)
Those Villanova players were indeed blessed… crushing their opponent in the Sweet 16 game and going on to win it all. Now I wouldn’t dare presume that God gave them the victory as some sort of spiritual reward. But I do believe that the experience taught them the value of humility and selflessness.
Villanova senior Ryan Arcidiacono had dreamed all of his life about being the guy who got the game-winning basket at the buzzer...
“...with 4.7 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 74, he had the ball and headed toward the basket. He dribbled up the court thinking, ‘I’m going to shoot this!’ Then, he took the ball — and passed it?.. When Arcidiacono heard his teammate Kris Jenkins shouting, ‘Arch! Arch!’ because he was open, Arcidiacono turned and tossed the ball to him. That single flick of the ball set up one of the most stunning moments in N.C.A.A. tournament history. Jenkins let the ball fly, and it seemed that the nearly 75,000 spectators dropped their jaws and hushed their breath in unison. As the horn blared, the ball slid through the hoop to score 3 points, and the entire stadium roared… ‘Arch was supposed to shoot it because he’s a senior and that’s what seniors do when the final game’s on the line,’ Jenkins said. ‘But he gave it to me, and I really can’t believe it. It just shows what kind of person he is.’” (Source: NewYorkTimes.com; April 4, 2016)
Selflessness. It’s a rare quality in today’s world… so rare that it causes jaws to drop. Most of us will never cause 75,000 jaws to drop with one act of selflessness. But, I guarantee you there are opportunities today for each of us to humble ourselves and put others first. It may be as simple as giving up your prime airplane seat to someone in the back… or teaming up with the kid who is always picked last… or sacrificing your Saturday to babysit for a single mom who never gets a day off. You probably won’t make the headlines. But you will make an impression. When folks ask “why?” tell them about Jesus... our Lord who loves them so much He would wash their stinky feet.
"If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
(John 13:17, NASB)