[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]

Author Topic: "Washing the feet"  (Read 1038 times)


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 23
"Washing the feet"
« on: October 08, 2010, 02:08:12 AM »
It has always made me wonder why Jesus told Peter that one only needs his feet washed and is clean all over when He washed His disciplesí feet.  I just couldnít see how it fit in with the rest of scriptures. I understood the lesson that we need to serve one another and that the servants were the ones who washed their masterís feet by normal practice because they got dirty out in the streets, and that Jesus was showing us an example. But it struck me when I recently heard the reading of the passage again:

John 13:5-21
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
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.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Jesus said in verse 7 that Peter didnít know what He was doing now but would know hereafter. Jesus also said that if He didnít wash Peter, then Peter would have no part with Him. Why was this so important? If we are saved by Grace, why then did Peter need to have His feet washed by Jesus? If Jesus washing the feet of the twelve was just a display of how we should serve one another, Jesus could have made the point of being a servant to others by only washing one of the disciplesí feet. Also, Judas, who betrayed him, was there and presumably got his feet washed as well, but it didnít do any good for Judas. Peter answers Jesus back that he wanted Jesus to wash all of him, not just his feet. Jesusí response is very interesting because He says: ďHe that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.Ē Then he says in verse 11 that the reason he said they were not all clean is because Judas was there. This is the key to understand that Jesus is not speaking about being physically clean, He is speaking about being spiritually clean.

Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

All the disciples were spiritually clean except Judas who would betray Him. Why, then, is it necessary to have their feet washed? Having our sins washed away by Jesus is well known, but what about the feet still needing washing when we are already cleansed? The traditional answer focuses on the physical that the disciples were clean, but their feet got dirty from walking around on the street, but Jesus also commanded them to wash each othersí feet. It is not recorded in scriptures of the disciples ever washing each othersí feet. To understand, we need to look at scriptures to see why the feet are important and why they might need spiritual cleansing:
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Isa 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Nah 1:15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Our feet represent our Gospel message. There are many other scriptures that refer to the feet as well mostly speaking of the lame:

 Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame

Here Godís Word speaks that He is eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. Whenever lame is mentioned in the scriptures it refers to the feet and or legs. God is the one who is eyes and feet because we understand and know the true Gospel only by His Spirit in us.

Prov 26:6-7
6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

Here Godís Word speaks of His Word in the mouth of a fool (one who doesnít understand) like a person whose feet are cut off or lame. This is because the feet represent our Gospel message. We know this is speaking of Godís Word because He is the one who speaks in parables. We see this in the inaccurate interpretation of parables from most pulpits today.

Isa 35:4-7
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Once again, Godís Word speaks of the lame, not just walking but leaping because Christ bore Godís vengeance for our sins, we who were lame in that we didnít have the Truth because we were dead in our sins. We also were blind and deaf and dumb in that we could not see the Truth, hear the Truth, or speak the Truth because we had no Truth in us, but when the Spirit of Truth is given to us, this prophecy is fulfilled. Also, remember the religious leaders of Israel during Jesusí time here knew the scriptures and studied them diligently, but they didnít know or understand the Truth. Similarly the scriptures prophesy that false teachers and false doctrines would rise in the last days:

Matt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

2 Cor 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

So, we know from scripture that false teachers are disguised as followers and teachers of Christ, and their message and works are so convincing that if it were possible they would even deceive ďthe electĒ or Godís chosen people. The Truth of this scripture then is that Jesus was performing the foot-washing as a parable to teach us that we must have the clean, pure, true Gospel of Peace. This must be the case because it is consistent with all other scriptures for the requirements of Salvation. If we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, then we have the Holy Spirit in us that guides us in all Truth:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Also, why else would it be a requirement for Peter and the Apostles, but not for the rest of us unless it was a picture of the Truth that each of us must have the Truth in us because the ďTruthĒ is ďThe WordĒ who also is Jesus who is in each of the true believers. We then also are commanded by Jesus to wash each otherís feet and we do so by sharing the Truth that the Holy Spirit has guided us in so that we all can benefit, learn, and grow. When we share the Truth with each other as God provides: these are the good works that God prepared beforehand for us to do. By doing so, we give spiritual food, drink, and clothing to the least of these Christís brethren.  Praise God for providing this website through His servant, Brother Warren, so that we can wash each othersí feet.


[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]