The fear of being humiliated is one of the strongest fears we have to defeat if we’re going to live well.
Jesus introduces this idea of humility through the practice of feet-washing. You probably know this is a cultural thing; that feet were washed by servants when people entered the house after a long journey. But what the disciples could never have expected was that Jesus, their God, Lord, and Messiah, the One they had left everything for, would humble Himself to wash their feet. He taught them that humility was the bedrock of our faith, that we are servants, not task masters, not Lords, not those who demand their own way.
One of the great contributions of this chapter is Jesus giving us a very clear, focused understanding of how we are to express our faith in the real world. And that’s simply this, that if we love other people, particularly other Christians, that becomes one of the first evidences of our faith.
You can’t say that you love God and not love people, period. That rules out hate, prejudice, any of the stuff that we see people using to excuse their behavior in God’s name.
Humility is a beautiful thing. Humiliation can become a beautiful thing as God applies His grace to it. It’s His love that grows strong in us that allows us to be strong in the world, even as we take up the towel as our Savior did, and serve others.