John 13:1 - 17
ESV - 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.
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To discern the significance of the feet washing in Jn. 13:1-17, we need to consider the way the event has been reported. There are several facts that are mentioned here: 1. Jesus is now aware that the time for His departure to God, His Father, has come. 2. Whom He loved, He loved them to the end. 3. Satan is acutely active among the disciples, and Judas has succumbed to the satanic temptation. 4. This knowledge that Father has put everything in His hand, comes in the fore front of Jesus' memory. 5. This also comes in the fore front of His memory that He has come from God, and that He is going back to God. Also, the statements in vs. 2 & 4 make it clear that Jesus did not wash His disciples feet before or after the meals, but in between the meals. Feet were washed before the meals and only hands were washed after the meals; but here Jesus washed His disciples feet in between the meals. Something imergency is challenging here. We need to include one more facts here. In v. 8 when Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet, Jesus said that if He did not wash his feet then Peter would have no part in Jesus. Considering these facts we can glean that Satan is again tempting Jesus, possibly in two ways. First, to forsake the faltering disciples, who were going to forsake Him while He would need them the most. And second, to be puffed up by the knowledge of His high positions. We can also add that Jesus now wants to demonstrate before the disciples, How to combat such temptations with emergency measures. With one act of feet washing Jesus affirmed his love for His faltering disciples and thwarted the satanic temptation to be puffed up in pride because of the high position. This is an example for us to follow in such temptations when our love towards faltering belivers is becoming cold and when there are reasons for us to be puffed up in pride. Such are the moments when we must take emergency measures. Peter's refusal to let Jesus wash his feet has a deeper meaning. Jesus needed the cooperation of His disciples in combating the above temptations. Peter, by his refusal to Jesus, was infact dissassociating himself from Jesus. Here Peter himself was falling prey to the temptation of pride. He might have thought, How could other disciples be so mean to let the Master wash their feet, I am not that mean, he must have thought. Jesus rescued him here also. So, when the temptations of pride and of forsaking faltering fellow belivers strike us, we need to take emergency measures. Jesus did a menial service to His disciples. That is the example Jesus has established for us to follow, how to strengthen our love for the fellow faltering believers and to combat the satanic temptations of pride, by doing menial services to the least of our fellow believers. And more so, to involving even the faltering believers to combating satanic temptations. I believe this is the significance of the feet washing in Jn. 13:1-17.
In my opinion I think that the significance of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, shows us that as Christian Leaders we need to be on the same level as the fellow Christians irrespective of their position. We need to humble ourselves, and be prepared to serve others. Pastors or Church leaders are being served by church members in giving of tithes and offerings, however they fail to serve those needy people in return. We need to resemble Jesus, doing it with an unconditional love. God showed His love by sending Himself on earth in the form of a person(Jesus). John 1:1 and 14 explain the statement better. He humbled Himself and came down to us (sinners) just to save us from our filthiness. We need to be like God, loving unconditionally.
I have been an elder in the United Church of Zambia in Central Africa for over 30 years now. One of my very serious problem has been that, each time I am attending any Church meeting, I always want people to recognize my presence and accord me the status which I have always felt I so rightly deserve. I also have this tendency of always wanting to sit where everyone can see me and above all, I feel greatly humiliated and dishonored whenever I am not allowed to say at least something at very "important" meetings. Recently someone painted me the picture of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom I confess, kneeling at the feet of His disciple's feet; washing their feet. Fellow Christians, the picture of Jesus humility which has now been painted in my heart has not only melted my heart but has also humbled me greatly. I know there are other very proud Christians, who like me have often been tempted to feel like they needed to be given a position of eminence among others, and often feel so hurt, humiliated and discouraged each time they are not given the honor and respect they feel they deserve; then let them look at Jesus the Son of God, kneeling at the feet of His disciples.
Jesus washing the feet of the disciples was done to show them that those whom are leaders in the called-out Assembly are not to act as lords over their fellow believers, but to serve them with a foot-washing attitude, be willing to wash a fellow believers feet if that is what it takes to bring them closer to the lord Jesus Messiah. We, in the lord Jesus are all of us priests, unto his God and our God, and we are to act as he did on this earth. Jesus always served those he came in contact with in an attitude of love, even when he spoke in judgment against what some religious leader were doing wrong it was always done in love and as a servant of his God and Father and in loving service to them also. The greatest of all he said will be the one who acts with a servant attitude and always serves others the way he did toward others. What a beautiful example we have in Jesus and how thankful we should be that what has been written in the N.T. is for us to live by and follow as the sons of God, children of Abraham believing all that God has revealed to us as he did! May we all take upon ourselves the servant attitude of mind that Jesus had and has now as our High Priest and Paracletos. Phillipians 2:5....let this mind be in you that is also in the anointed one Jesus, Romans 12:2 and be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving what is the will of God — the good, and acceptable, and perfect. Phillipians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 1Peter 3:8: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: If we could love our brothers and sister as God has shown how much He loves us by giving His son to be a sin offering sacrifice in order that we could be reconciled to Him and have all our sins forgiven. Precious grace poured out on us who had nothing in us that would cause Him to act in the wonderful gracious way He has toward us who deserved nothing but death.
In those days, they had no sewers. Fecal matter from both animal and humans were everywhere on the ground. So feet were unsanitary, filthy, stinky-not like what we’re used to today. The picture of a foot in those days is a parallel to how God viewed man’s soul. Filthy. Jesus became our servant by dying on the cross to cover our filthy wretched sinful self. He cleansed is of our filthiness. His servitude to us should express to us how we should also approach those in our society who have lost their way, clean them up, re-teach good habits, and set onto a good path of success. But instead, there are lists created online of what everyone has been convicted of forcing them into hiding and disallowing them to recover. Surely I say to you, those will enter heaven first.
"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:18-20). This statement is known as Christ's "declaration of universal authority." It was accompanied by a great divine 'sword' (Matthew 10:34) that divided human societies and communities right down to the family level while requiring that all human leaders regardless of tribe willingly accept a new social model, effectively ending the age of aristocracy and "benefactor lords" and replacing it with "public service." The Lord unveiled it for us here: "And He said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called "Benefactors." But not so with you; rather the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.'" (Luke 22:25-26). This new world arrangement has now brought us the promised "100 fold" wealth "in this age," new social models for family, business and farm no longer based on birth class, and the "persecutions" being endured by those with the courage to stand up to their former 'lords' and find liberty and systems of stable peace through the Holy Spirit, (Mark 10:29-31). Being a "foot-washer" isn't just a nice suggestion for nice people to follow. It is a divine requirement if you wish to have a place of authority anywhere in the new world that Christ is now establishing based on His universal authority. In fact, it is a matter of life and death that can end your entire tribe, and in some cases already has. Why is God so serious about "public service" being the world's new model? In a word, "liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17). Yahweh God isn't using this new 'sword' to punish evil or to force people to follow Christ and do good works. He is establishing something called the 'law of liberty,' (James 1:25, 2:12). The 'law of liberty' isn't just for Christians. People don't even need to acknowledge that it exists in order to be under its power. That is because Christ really does have universal authority and is already proving it, whether they choose to honor Him or not. They are already honoring "public service" because this is the new universal standard being set by Christ's law of liberty. Liberty requires having a choice. Without the ability to choose for ourselves, we are nothing not automatons. God is only good, so the only other option is evil. The "sword" is not about siding with good over evil. It is only about preserving the choice between good and evil. The "foot-washer" is the social character who does this. The "benefactor lord" was the character who forced us to choose against our will and conscience. Even if His own children don't recognize this, God is perfectly impartial and will not spare even them this "sword" either. Christians who try to "force" anyone to choose Christ against their will face its temporal wrath, the same as anyone else who attempts to keep even a single member of their tribe from choosing Christ-- if that is their expressed personal will and conscience. The "public servant" i.e. "foot-washer" is a revealed mystery from Yahweh God long held secret since ages past: God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords is a Public Servant.
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