The following was kindly prepared by Mr. Gary Williamson:
David stooped down before Saul (1 Sa 24.8)
John stooped down before the Lord’s sepulchre (Jn 20.5)
Mary stooped down before the same sepulchre (Jn 20.11)
But only our Lord stooped twice (Jn 8.6, 8). His action in the temple that day symbolized two other times that He stooped:
1. when He left the riches of glory, humbled Himself, and took upon Himself the form of a servant (Jn 1.14; Ph 2.7; 2 Co 8.9)
2. when He stooped to wash the disciples’ feet (Jn 13.1-17).
He did both in condescending grace. Think of the first: He, the great I AM, Who was one with the Father and was worshipped by angels – He, the Almighty One, of infinite greatness and majesty - humbled Himself to become a lowly man. He walked amongst sinful men. He, the Lord of glory, became a Friend to publicans and sinners. What grace! What humility! But more than that, He allowed men to despise Him, reject Him, mock Him, spit upon Him, and finally crucify Him. If that isn’t love and abounding grace, I don’t know what is.
Secondly, think of the time He washed the disciples’ feet. None of them wanted to do the task. They were thinking of greatness, yea they had done that several times (Mt 18.1; Mk 9.34, 36; Lk 22.24). He, on the other hand, displayed true and genuine humility. He did the task of a servant. He did it in spite of His personal greatness and glory. When He wrapped Himself with the linen towel (Jn 13.4-5, JND), there was only a small piece left with which to dry the disciples’ feet. He had to stoop low, very low, to wash and dry their feet. More than that, the disciples’ sandals (and thus their feet) had likely become contaminated with dung found on the streets of Jerusalem from all the animals there (Jn 2.14; 12.14; 18.27; Lk 2.24; etc.). What amazing humility! What matchless grace!
Beloved, how unlike Him we are! We, as pictured by the disciples, think of ourselves and personal greatness. We avoid the path of a true servant. We balk at lowly paths. We turn to our own ways, and seek recognition, prominence, satisfaction, and (sadly) sometimes even sin. He, the Holy One, the One who was completely separate from sinners, took the lowest place of all that night, and washed the disciples’ feet. Oh, that we might become more like Him! Oh, that we might have the attitude of heart He had, that we might stoop before others to do lowly service. It’s only as the Lord the Spirit reveals our smallness and His greatness – it’s only as the Father conforms us to the image of His Son – that we will be both ready, and willing, to engage in lowly things. May we learn to stoop, in true humility, as He did.