Foot Washing: A Lost Art?
By: Donna Collins Tinsley, 1.cbn.com
Why, in the body of Christ, is foot washing such a rare occurrence, when Jesus himself said we ought to wash one another’s feet?
Ought means duty, obligation – something we owe. When was the last time you washed your brother’s or sister’s feet? Or have you ever? Perhaps you feel it something to be done only by the Pastor or his wife as a church ordinance or tradition. But I challenge you to think of it in a new way.
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:3-5 (NIV)
Try to imagine how you would feel if the Lord was washing your feet, as he did to the disciples. Close your eyes and picture this in your mind. Feel the soothing warmth of the water, the strength of His strong hands massaging your feet and toes. The texture and smell of the soap are rejuvenating. You felt so weary and tired, but now your feet are tingling. You are refreshed and humbled by His touch. Your soul feels restored by His service of love to you.
How shocked the disciples must have been to see their Master coming to them girded with a towel and carrying a basin. He was their Master yet He was doing the work of a servant.
“‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this,'” John 13:7 (NKJV) was Jesus’ answer when Peter questioned Him.
“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.’” John 13:12-15(NASV)
There have been times the Lord told me to serve in this way. Once to prepare a sister for her wedding day: I washed and perfumed her feet. Another time, a conflict arose in a relationship and the Lord impressed upon me I must humble myself and serve by foot washing. This was part of restoring the relationship. Several times the Lord has sent me purely as an act of love.
When Mary washed Jesus’s feet, it was a public display of adoration and preparation for His death. People were reproving the act of love she gave, but Jesus said,
“Let her alone; why are you bothering her and causing trouble? She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever the good news [regarding salvation] is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:6, Mark 14:9(AMP)
Jesus said, “… whatever you did for one of the least of these … you did for me.” Matt 25:40 (NIV)
I can’t be as Mary and wash His feet with my tears, but the Lord can and will use my hands to wash the feet of members of His body. What about you?
Steven and Deb Koster, Authors, reframemedia.org.
Scripture Reading — John 13:1-17
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
—John 13:14 —
Jesus set an example for us when he washed the feet of his disciples—an example of servant leadership. Washing the feet of one’s guests was not the job of a leader, host, or rabbi, but the chore of a servant. But Jesus took on that role to show his followers how they ought to care for one another.
In our family’s multiple moves, we’ve had many friends and loved ones come and help us get settled in our new surroundings. Unpacking boxes and scrubbing floors is hard work, but they did it to show their love for us—and their sacrifice gave us a glimpse of how God loves us. They loved us enough to get dirty and to strain their backs lifting furniture. But Jesus’ love comes from a much deeper sacrifice. He gave everything for us.
Sacrificial love for each other is the flavor that God wants our relationships to have. We should forgive as we have been forgiven. Forgive, help, sharpen, teach, admonish, accept, encourage, confess, and pray for one another. This is the kind of people we are now.
We love sacrificially because Jesus called us to love as he loves. We love not just when it is comfortable, but even when it’s challenging.
Are you faced with a sacrifice that you are not excited about making? How might God stretch you and grow you through that experience?
Lord, we are so humbled by the way you sacrificed your-self for us. May we follow your example and live sacrifi-cially with those around us. In your name we pray. Amen.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus… got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing,… and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. — John 13:2-5 NIV
It has been a long day. Jerusalem is packed with Passover guests, most of whom clamor for a glimpse of the Teacher. The spring sun is warm. The streets are dry. And the disciples are a long way from home. A splash of cool water would be refreshing.
The disciples enter the room, one by one, and take their places around the table. On the wall hangs a towel, and on the floor sit a pitcher and a basin. Any one of the disciples could volunteer for the job, but not one does.
After a few moments Jesus stands and removes His outer garment. He wraps a servant’s girdle around His waist, takes up the basin, and kneels before one of the disciples. He unlaces a sandal and gently lifts the foot, places it in the basin, covers it with water, and begins to bathe it.
One grimy foot after another, Jesus works His way down the row. In Jesus’ day the washing of feet was a task reserved not just for servants but for the lowest of servants.
In this case the One with the towel and basin is the King of the universe.
Hands that shaped the stars now wash away filth. Fingers that formed mountains now massage toes. And the One before whom all nations will one day kneel now kneels before His disciples. Hours before His own death, Jesus’ concern is singular.
He wants His disciples to know how much He loves them.
You can be sure Jesus knows the future of these feet He is washing. These feet will dash for cover at the flash of a Roman sword. Only one pair of feet won’t abandon Him in the Garden… Judas will abandon Jesus that very night at the table.
What a passionate moment when Jesus silently lifts the feet of His betrayer and washes them in the basin.
Jesus knows what these men are about to do. By morning they will bury their heads in shame and look down at their feet in disgust. And when they do, He wants them to remember how His knees knelt before them and He washed their feet…
He forgave their sin before they even committed it. He offered mercy before they even sought it.
~ Just Like Jesus
King of the universe, I’d like to think I would have washed Your feet and done better than the other disciples, but I know that’s not true. Thank You for loving me and washing my feet and offering me mercy when I deserve none. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Streams In The Desert
By: L.B. Cowman
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside, of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exod. 3:1,2).
The vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary road, and the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms of grace.
My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence.
Some Christians think they must be always up to mounts of extraordinary joy and revelation; this is not after God’s method. Those spiritual visits to high places, and that wonderful intercourse with the unseen world, are not in the promises; the daily life of communion is. And it is enough. We shall have the exceptional revelation if it be right for us.
There were but three disciples allowed to see the transfiguration, and those three entered the gloom of Gethsemane. No one can stay on the mount of privilege. There are duties in the valley. Christ found His life-work, not in the glory, but in the valley and was there truly and fully the Messiah.
The value of the vision and glory is but their gift of fitness for work and endurance.