Foot Washing

John 13:10
“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;…”

Living in Israel at the time of Christ, it was impossible to walk the streets of Jerusalem without getting dirty. Open-toed sandals in a desert climate made for dirty streets and dirty feet. One solution was the custom of foot washing. Whenever a guest entered a home, the host was responsible for ensuring that the feet of the guest were washed. When Jesus gathered with the disciples for the Passover meal, he took on the role of the host, and began to wash their feet. As expected, Peter had something to say about the actions of Jesus. First he resisted, to which Jesus explained,

“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

In response, Peter replied,

“Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

To which Jesus said,

“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;…”

The washing of the disciples’ feet serves as a great example of serving one another, but it also illustrates something about the Christian walk. Just as it was impossible to walk the streets of Jerusalem and not get dirty feet, so it is impossible to live in our world and not get a little dirty. Even when we determine to live committed to Christ, we come into contact with things that defile us, and even trigger the desires of the flesh. It might happen sitting in a waiting room, glancing down at a magazine with a seductive photo on the cover; or in the break room at work, when someone decides to share a crude or off-color joke. One way or another, we get the mud of the world on us.

The solution is not to isolate ourselves completely from the world. After all, Jesus sent us into the world as witnesses of the resurrection. No, the solution is foot washing. I am not speaking of reinstating the custom of washing feet, but of what I believe it represents in our walk with God. Paul spoke to the Ephesians about “The washing of water by the Word of God” (Ephesians 5:26). God’s Word has a cleansing effect in our lives. When we get the muck of the world splattered on us, the solution is to sit down and let God’s Word wash it away. How refreshing it is to sit with our Bibles, and allow him to give our minds a cleansing.

Just as there is no better way to start the day than with God’s Word, there is also no better way to end the day.

Pastor Jim

Questions for John 13

  1. This is the last night of Jesus life before He is murdered. How committed has He been to the apostles? Did what He was about to face cause Him to waver in His commitment to them?
  2. Consider verses 3-5. What was Jesus past? What was His future? Knowing these two things what was He able to do in the present?
  3. How did Peter respond to his Master taking the position of a servant? At this point would Peter have been a good servant-leader?
  4. Do you have a hard time taking the “low place”? Is putting others needs before your own something you have embraced?
  5. Read verse 13-17. Why was Jesus doing this? How are we to respond to it? What is the result if we respond rightly to this lesson?
  6. In the invisible, spiritual realm, what happened to Judas at the dinner table?
  7. What is the new commandment that Jesus has given? Who is our example on how we are to do this command? (Verse 34)
  8. What will the result of obeying this command be? (Verse 35)
  9. Remember the earlier parts of this chapter and read verses how is Peter handling his graduation course from the school of ministry? Consider how gracious Jesus is with Peter, and how much He loves him. Take time to thank God for His love for you, in spite of your failures.

Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 7- Winning Daily Battles
Deuteronomy 8- Testophobia

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