“So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist,
and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jn 13:4-5
God desires us to imitate Jesus Christ who led a unique life while on earth. God expects us to take up the responsibility which Jesus Christ had assigned to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. The above verse indicates that Jesus Christ knew He would soon be leaving this earth. Jesus Christ came down from heaven not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He knew from where He came and where He would be going to as is clear when Jesus said to Peter (John13:7), “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
In those days it was the duty of the servants of the house to wash the feet of the guests and welcome them into the house. Jesus Christ conducted this custom and it shows his servanthood despite the fact that He was addressed as a Teacher/Lord.
MK10:45 is the key verse of the Gospel of Mark which reads “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus Christ gave importance to be in fellowship with Him for which washing of the feet was necessary. This act could be carried out only by Jesus Christ. We, who have been redeemed by faith in Jesus Christ and restored to God need to realise that it is important to wash our feet daily. Apostle Peter said to Jesus that he would like his head and hands too to be washed to which Jesus Christ replied “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean (Jn13:9&10).
What does washing of the feet mean?
- It refers to our spiritual life.
During our life on this earth our daily conduct collects a lot of dirt therefore in order to lead a clean life it is necessary to wash our feet. This does not mean that God expects us to live in self righteousness, instead we should always be aware that as long as we live on this earth our spiritual lives are bound to be unclean. Its only the Word of God that makes us aware of the dark areas of our lives. The Word is a two edged sword which touches our heart and transform us to be in conformity with God. In order to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ one should purify oneself daily.
- Jn13:10 “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean”
Jesus Christ here instructs those who have been redeemed by His precious blood that they need to cleanse themselves daily. None of our righteous deeds will make us pure except by cleansing ourselves with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He sacrificed Himself to be crucified on the cross so that we would be redeemed from our sins and made pure. His precious blood cleanses us of all our sins and make us pure before God.
- We have to surrender before Jesus to be cleansed.
Only Jesus Christ is worthy to wash and cleanse us to be pure. We should yearn to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ in order to remain pure before God.
Jn13:15 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Jesus Christ has set an example before us to follow. He did this after He said that all power was given to Him on heaven and on earth and knew that He came from the Father and would return to the Father. Although all authority was vested in Him from the beginning, Jesus Christ carried out His ministry like a servant.
Jn13:16 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”
The disciples called Jesus “Lord”. Jesus said to His disciples (Jn13:13-14) “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
The Lord’s table reveals that we are all servants to serve one another.
Apostle Paul says in 1Cor11:1 “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” God expects us to be imitators of Christ. Therefore surrender to God and seek to be pure by cleansing with the precious blood of Christ.
May we be transformed to consider others more important than us and serve them as Jesus Christ did.
Pr. Juxy Mathew