St. Augustine comments, in a beautiful and moving section, on Christ’s washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-15, the Gospel for Maundy Thursday.) Augustine links Jesus’ emptying Himself of His divine glory from Phil 2 (which was the Second Lesson from last Sunday, Palm Sunday) with His humble service to His disciples. Not only is this section beautiful, it’s also very doctrinally rich — certainly no coincidence. The doctrine of Jesus is both beautiful and nourishing to faith. Augustine helps us see here the true depth of Jesus’ love in His humble act of washing dirty feet. This is how I want to preach.
But why should we wonder that He rose from supper, and laid aside His garments, who, being in the form of God, made Himself of no reputation?And why should we wonder, if He girded Himself with a towel, who took upon Him the form of a servant, and was found in the likeness of a man? Why wonder, if He poured water into a basin wherewith to wash His disciples’ feet, who poured His blood upon the earth to wash away the filth of their sins? Why wonder, if with the towel wherewith He was girded He wiped the feet He had washed, who with the very flesh that clothed Him laid a firm pathway for the footsteps of His evangelists? In order, indeed, to gird Himself with the towel, He laid aside the garments He wore; but when He emptied Himself [of His divine glory] in order to assume the form of a servant, He laid not down what He had, but assumed that which He had not before. When about to be crucified, He was indeed stripped of His garments, and when dead was wrapped in linen clothes: and all that suffering of His is our purification.
— Augustine, Tractate LV, on John 13:1-15