Would You Wash My Feet?

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org

Did you know that God created a ceremony for your feet? The apostle John records in the thirteenth chapter of his gospel account a ceremony that Jesus Christ performed and instituted on the very last night of His life during His last Passover. John was the only gospel writer to record this ceremony of "foot washing."

Letís notice what happened: "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. {2} And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, {3} Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, {4} rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. {5} After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. {6} Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" {7} Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." {8} Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." {9} Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" {10} Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." {11} For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean." {12} So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? {13} "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. {14} "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. {15} "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. {16} "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. {17} "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them (John 13:1-17).

In Verse 1, we see Jesus and His apostles keeping the Passover. Luke recorded Jesus as saying: "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15.) This Passover is recorded in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and Luke 22 in which Jesus instituted the New Testament Passover symbols of the bread and the wine. Only the apostle John recorded the ceremony of "foot washing." Notice that John recorded in Verse 1 that Jesus "loved them to the end." Part of the "love" that Jesus had for His disciples during the last 24 hours of His earthly life was sharing His last Passover with them and instituting the Passover symbols of the bread and wine and the ceremony of the "foot washing."

Notice verses 4 and 5: Jesus washed His disciples feet. Jesus is our Master and Lord, He is the Son of God who created the heavens and the earth (John 1:1-3) and yet He humbled Himself to serve in a menial task of washing His disciples feet. This menial task was usually done by servants but Jesus humbled Himself and served. The apostle Paul told the saints in Philippi: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: {7} But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7 KJV.)

In essence, Paul is telling us that we are to have the "mind of Christ" and in order to have that mind we must be like Jesus and be humble like a servant and serve.

Letís notice in Verse 14 what Jesus said after He had washed His disciples feet: "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. {15} "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." Jesus set the example for "foot washing" and He commanded "foot washing" for His true disciples.

If you keep the Passover and take the symbols of the bread and the wine and you participate in the ceremony of "foot washing" what is the result? Jesus gives us the answer in Verse 17: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." The King James Version quotes it a little differently: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." The Greek word for "blessed" is: "makarios" and it means: "supremely blest; fortunate, well off."

The "foot washing" ceremony part of the Passover service is to show God that we are humble and willing to serve our fellow man, especially by doing acts of service or kindness for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

To be "humble" is not be proud, nor haughty, nor arrogant or assertive, it is to reflect and express a spirit of deference, submission and meekness.

To be humble we must repent of our sins. Notice that Verses 6-11 deals with the apostle Peter. In Verse 8 Peter is somewhat arrogant but after Jesusí comment to him: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me", Peter repents and changes his mind and his attitude. (Repent means to turn from sin and to change one's mind.) Jesus is telling Peter that the washing of his feet symbolizes forgiveness of his sin to return him to a "clean" relationship with God (Matthew 6:14-15.)

In conclusion: God created this "foot washing" ceremony for your feet to test your humility and your attitude toward your fellow man. How is your "foot washing" attitude? Would you wash my feet?