I believe when Jesus washed the disciples' feet, He was teaching a profound lesson on how to achieve unity in the body of Christ.
As Jesus approached Peter to wash his feet, the disciple drew back and asked in astonishment, "Lord, You aren't going to wash my feet, are You? Never, never!" (see John 13:6). Jesus answered, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me" (verse 8). Jesus was saying, in essence, "Peter, if I wash your feet, we have grounds for precious fellowship, a basis for true unity."
After Jesus washed His disciples' feet, He asked them, "Do you understand what I have done?" If they had understood the spiritual significance of what He had just done—taking away the stain and guilt of their sin—it would have produced profound gratitude in them.
What did Jesus do to you when He cleansed you? He wiped away all your guilt and made you clean and whole. He put joy in your soul and filled you with such love for Him that you would follow Him anywhere and do anything for Him.
Beloved, that is the secret of unity. When you take up the towel of mercy for a hurting, fallen brother, you encourage him by embracing him in his hurt. By washing that person’s feet, you construct a firm foundation for true unity and glorious fellowship. You are made one by your common experience.
This message is for me as much as for anyone else. I have just recently come into this convicting knowledge of what foot washing is truly about. And by God's grace, I will take up the towel of mercy along with others and seek out those hurting ones whose feet need cleansing.
Jesus said, "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. . . . If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:14, 17).
Now that we "know these things," as Jesus said, we can do them. I ask you: Are you willing and ready to take up your towel in love?