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A Picture Of Humility

During the Easter season, my wife and I attended a church service where the participants sought to model the events that Jesus and His disciples experienced on the night before He was crucified. As part of the service, the church staff members washed the feet of some of the church volunteers. As I watched, I wondered which was more humbling in our day—to wash another person’s feet or to have someone else wash yours. Both those who were serving and those being served were presenting distinct pictures of humility.

When Jesus and His disciples were gathered for the Last Supper (John 13:1-20), Jesus, in humble servanthood, washed His disciples’ feet. But Simon Peter resisted, saying, “You shall never wash my feet!” Then Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (13:8). Washing their feet was not a mere ritual. It could also be seen as a picture of our need of Christ’s cleansing—a cleansing that will never be realized unless we are willing to be humble before the Savior.

James wrote, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). We receive God’s grace when we acknowledge the greatness of God, who humbled Himself at the cross (Phil. 2:5-11).

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine;
Now hear me when I pray, take all my sin away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine! —Palmer
The most powerful position on earth is kneeling before the Lord of the universe.


In ancient Israel, the task of foot-washing was necessary because of the open shoes worn in streets filled with dirt and refuse. Because it was such an unpleasant task, it was usually assigned to the lowest servant in the house. Here Jesus Himself performed this menial job (John 13:3-5).

33 thoughts on “A Picture Of Humility

  1. bubbles says:

    It’s interesting to observe people of various cultures. It seems that people of some cultures appear to have very humble ways. When I have been in their presence I have been touched by their humility. I wonder how they are taught this humility. Their sweet ways humble me.

  2. hera says:

    Someone said to me that saying I am humble shows that I am not…humility is a quality we can not claim to have.

  3. mario says:

    Thank you for the wonderful message about humility. In one of our bible studies, we took notice of the Apostle Peter’s act of humility when he praised the Lord for the wisdom He gave Apostle Paul(2 Peter 3:14-16). Instead of being angry with Apostle Paul (for he was the one who had accused him one time of being a hypocrite), Apostle Peter praised him for the work he is doing for the Lord. (Gal 2:11-14) King David’s prayer in Psalm 19:12-14 is a also a nice reminder for believers/servants in being humble. Thank you.

  4. eternallyhis says:

    One time when trying to rid myself of the pride that God revealed to me that had welled up within me, I soon discovered I could not rid my own self of pride. The more I confessed it to God as the sin that I knew it was, the prouder I became of my efforts to humble myself. :( I stayed on my knees in fervent prayer, struggling with it until I finally confessed to God, “If I am to be rid of this pride, You will have to rid me of it, as I cannot seem to get rid of it my own self.”
    I left it with Him, and soon was led into approximately one week of feeling like my prayers were hitting empty air. One after the other my faults kept coming to my mind, which I later realized was the ‘accuser of the brethren’ attacking me. But at the time, I only knew I felt miserable, unable to sense the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and I had to agree with all the accusations, unable to deny my faults. The thought came that ‘I had gone too far, being so prideful that God would not want anything to do with me.’ Then came the ultimate lie, when the thought came, God probably isn’t even real. I knew this was a lie, because God had given me His Love for my hubby when I had no love of my own for him. I certainly did not imagine that love, nor was I able to conjure it up on my own.
    It’s like God gave Satan just enough rope to hang himself and to humble me in the process. :)
    All praise to God for reminding me of something I had read of taking God at His Word, thanking Him for never leaving us, nor forsaking us, whether we can ‘feel’ His Presence, or not, we can be sure He is there. Hebrews 13:5
    It wasn’t long after I began praising Him and thanking Him for being with me, whether a minute, an hour or day?? I only know, all at once I was aware of His Holy Presence again and thank Him so very much for allowing me that horrible, yet needful experience, giving me even more assurance than ever, our God is able to deliver us. All praise, all glory and all honor to Him. We truly do serve an awesome God, praise Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1. eternallyhis says:

      p.s. Maybe I should mention, it was because I had gone directly to God in prayer in search of an answer, which is what caused me to feel so prideful, BECAUSE I thought, “If everyone would go directly to God for answers LIKE I DO :( there wouldn’t be confusion and controversy in the body of Christ and all the churches would teach the same things.”
      Anyhow, I’m sure you can see where the pride was :(

      1. eternallyhis says:

        p.s.s. Sorry to keep posting, but I keep forgetting to mention things, such as I still go directly to God for answers, but instead of feeling proud of myself for doing so, I praise God for leading me to do so, and I pray for others, as well as for my own self that God will correct us in any way we might need in our view of His Word.

        1. hsnpoor says:

          eternallyhis, I keep postit on my computer at work that says “when God gives me discernment about a person, place or thing, it’s my invitation to intercede, not to judge”. Until I read your comments today, it never dawned on me that that “person” who I received discernment about could be my own self. Thank you! Thank you also for the “BEWARE” sign for Satan’s judgement when we find ourselves in a hard, dry place like you described. We rebuke you, Satan, in the Name of Jesus!

  5. nylse says:

    Dr, I think it is in poor taste to use a devotional as a means to blog/share perspective and it is also considered bad etiquette. While I have been blessed by some of the notes, I think you would be best served if you were to start your own blog and share your perspective there.

    1. hsnpoor says:


      Don’t think you’ll get a lot of support for that POV on this site, but you’re certainly welcome to your opinion on the matter.

    2. bubbles says:

      Yes, I agree with you, nylse.

      1. bubbles says:

        I would like to know why my comment is awaiting moderation. What is wrong with asking a question here? Why is it acceptable for some to post very unkind comments and they are not moderated but I am because I asked a question and agreed with one whose thoughts were similar?

        1. Our Daily Bread says:

          Hi, Bubbles–We recently made a change to the commenting process so all comments (not just yours) will await moderation before they go live. Thanks for commenting!

    3. slml says:

      I agree with nylse. A blog for the dr would serve his purposes, and those who want to keep up with it could do that.

      1. hsnpoor says:

        I don’t know about you nylse, bubbles & slml, but the world that I live in teaches our children that they evolved from pond scum, fish & monkeys; that a fetus is a choice not a child, it’s a place where Muslim extremists serve God by beheading and murdering those who do not agree with their religious beliefs. It’s a world where natural disasters seem to be on the increase and all indicators are that the Day of the Lord is fast approaching. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and less than 5% of the population here claim to be Christ believers. My feeling is that, under these circumstances, when you have someone who is willing and quite able to rightly divide the Word of Truth for those who seek it, I could care less about the online “etiquette” of it all. As Paul indicated in Phillipians, some mean it for good & for some from envy,regardless, may Christ be preached! Really and truly who are you people and what are your credentials to dictate where and when God’s word should be disseminated? For all you know, this is a ministry gift that God himself has laid on the heart and mind of this man (I personally believe that is the case). If you don’t enjoy it, my counsel is that you don’t read it. But to assume you have the right to shut it down and off for others who are blessed by it is appalling. To asume that you have the righteousness to judge where he should rightly post his comments is arrogrance beyond this sister’s tolerance.

        May I humbly suggest that each of you acquaint or re-acquaint yourselves with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7, especially verses 1-6. I’d share those words here, but my hands are actually trembling with indignant anger.

        BTW, bubbles, did it ever occur to you that EVERYONE’S comments are moderated and no one at this site has actually picked you out to censure?

  6. cemeny says:

    During a recent missions trip, we stopped in a remote village to visit a new church plant. When we arrived, the leaders sat us down and washed our feet. It was an extremely humbling experience and one I will never forget. As we follow the command in Acts 1:8 and witness throughout the world, we must remember to humbly serve with action in addition to speaking or teaching the word. Isaiah 52:7 says “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

  7. slml says:

    My Dad grew up in the Primitive Baptist Church where they practiced “foot washing”. As a child, hearing about that, I had questions as to why. Not until I learned that Jesus did this to show humility, did I understand. I wonder sometimes, if we shouldn’t get back to that sort of thing once in a while.

  8. poohpity says:

    Pride seems to be the hardest to recognize and hardest to overcome. It gives answers before the questions are even asked, it elevates and boasts in itself, it speaks but rarely listens, it wants to be the teacher but refuses to be taught, it leads without learning what it is to follow, it gives advice without being asked, it is controlling/domineering/authoritarian, it says I can do it myself/my way and do not need help, it is the enemy of faith.

    Humility points to the Lord for answers to the questions, it recognizes the source of all spiritual blessing, it listens, it learns, it follows, it receives, it gives without recognition, it considers others needs before it’s own and never feels anything is beneath it to do in service to others, it allows God to be the cure while offering care, it is the basis of faith.

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