Imagine you are in the upper room with Jesus. He grabs a towel and a basin. He begins to wash feet, and you’re next.
We know how Peter feels. He wants no part of this. If Jesus is washing feet, that makes Jesus a servant. If Peter is going to follow a servant, that makes Peter the servant of the servant. That’s not exactly the kind of thing you report back home to your buddies or your parents. No one follows the slaves around. Most people just want to get out of service and into power.
Unless of course, you’re following Jesus. Our Lord demonstrates the kind of followers he wants us to be. He does it by taking the very rag-tag group of individuals called disciples and creates a community out of them. Before they betray, deny, and abandon him, he shows them how to behave toward each other and the rest of the world.
We take a towel and wash the feet of our betrayers. We bend down and serve the one who denies us. While the rest of the disciples are worrying about their reputations, Jesus shows them a legacy. That’s what servant leaders do. He invites us to follow, watch, and learn. This is how community begins.