Imagine your name is Seong, and you are a pastor in North Korea. Authorities have discovered that you have been telling friends and neighbors stories from the Bible. You have even baptized a few of your friends. Those closest to you are devastated. They want to help but feel powerless.
Worse yet, they've discovered one of them was the informant who turned you in. There is little hope. You know will be arrested the following day. If you run, you only endanger your remaining friends.
What would you do?
The dirt streets in your tiny village are buzzing with the news of your impending arrest. Your friends get together for one last meal, but no one can relax and enjoy the meal. No one is talking. Some start to whisper while some can't help but cry.
No one has noticed, but you've left the table. You re-enter the room with a basin of water, a bar of soap, a wash cloth, and towels.
You've been walking or riding your bicycle over dirt roads and trails, dodging police and potential informants, and your feet are always filthy from delivering the good news that has been kept from them by their oppressive government, the good news that God is real, He loves them, and He would do anything to give them everlasting life.
So, you wash your friends' feet. The humble act defines you as more than a friend. You honor your friends by placing each of them above yourself. As you wash their feet, you show them your humility, love, and servant heart even in the face of your own, impending arrest and certain execution.
Washing their feet is also an encouragement for them to get their feet dirty, to walk in your steps, and to spread the good news.
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed by one of his personally chosen followers, shared a meal with His friends. They didn't know He was going face judgment and execution. Even when He told them, they didn't know what to think.
As they ate and talked among themselves, He washed their feet. He insisted on washing their feet and said if they didn't allow Him to humble Himself in that simple act, they would have no part with Him.
I assume, since you've read this far that you're not facing lethal consequences for things you've said or done, but if you were, if I was, would the attitude that fills our final hours be one of humble service?
It is so hard for me to fathom what Jesus did the night he was betrayed. I pray that I may have a servant's heart as He demonstrated for us even in such a dark time.
How did He do it?
He knew the rest of the story. The author generally does. Jesus not only had foreknowledge of His unjust arrest, trial, judgment, beatings, humiliation, and criminal's death, He also knew that death was not the end, but that He would conquer death once and for all.
Hebrews chapter 12 tells us that Jesus endured it all for the joy He knew was coming. And the writer encourages us to consider Him and the severe opposition He faced and endured, so that we might not lose heart.
Even if you knew tonight's meal was your last, don't lose heart. It doesn't have to be the end of your story.