“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’” John 13:12-14 (NKJV)
“Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet.” Elisabeth Elliot
- Have you made your weekly prayer call? Habitually discussing God and praying with a friend is a great way not only to hear His voice but also to
confirm that it is His voice you’re hearing.
- Dear Sister in Christ, as we embark on this time of reflection of what Christ did for us on the cross, let us look at the Last Supper and what Jesus was telling us when he washed his disciples’ feet. Open your Bible and turn to John 13:1-35.
Clean Your House!
My husband and I have been studying our Hebraic roots and have been blessed to host the Passover meal for many years. I loved learning all about the symbolism of the ceremonial Seder dinner! One of the things that really struck me was the washing of hands and feet during the celebration. We read in John 13:3-17 that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet as well. What is so interesting is that the Jews wash to be cleansed of sin in order to partake in the meal. Jesus washes the disciples’ feet not only as a ritual, but also as an example of how we are to love one another! We are going to take a deeper look into John 13, but first a little history on Passover.
The Lord’s Passover is also known as the Day of Preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is usually the seven days preceding the Resurrection (Luke 22:1). At the start of Passover, the first day of unleavened bread, Jewish people remove all the leaven from their homes (Exodus 12:15,19-20). A search is conducted with a candle to check all the nooks and crannies where leaven might exist. When Peter and John went to make arrangements to secure a place for the Passover meal, they would have removed all the leaven from the upper room (Luke 22:7-13).
Leaven’s definition is yeast that is added to bread to make it rise. Its action is to ferment or permeate and ultimately modify. In the Bible, it represents sin and is removed from the house so that one could come before the Lord without sin. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight” (Isaiah 1:16 NASB). Purification has always been required before coming into the presence of the Lord. The Old Testament is full of instructions for the priests to ceremonially wash themselves before entering the inner court, known as the Holy of Holies, to commune with God. In fact, Moses had to take off his sandals to be in the Lord’s presence (Exodus 3:5).
As we all know, sin has the capacity to do the same thing in our lives. Left unrepented, it spreads and grows. We too need to clean our “houses” and come before the Lord with a pure heart. I love this revelation and how it applies to us as Christians. We need to search our hearts during this season, and ask the Lord to cleanse us of any unrighteousness as we focus on Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension.
At the Last Supper, Jesus completes this task prior to the meal by spiritually searching the hearts of his disciples. He finds leaven (the representation of corruption or sin) in Judas. Knowing Judas would betray Him, Jesus hands him the piece of bread and commands him to go, purging the leaven from the house and therefore removing sin from the presence of God (John 13:26-27).
As part of the Passover celebration, participants wash their hands and feet before eating. This act of preparation symbolizes removing their evil deeds. When you tell your kids to wash their hands before eating dinner, your desire is to keep them from ingesting dirt and getting sick. In the same way, God is telling us to remove sin from our lives too! Christ shows us, through the example of washing the disciples’ feet, how to serve each other and to bear each other’s burdens. Jesus tells them, “If I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with me” (John 13:8). What He is saying is that you can’t walk with Him in ministry and be effective if you don’t let Him wash you. When Peter heard that, he enthusiastically requested that Jesus wash not only his feet, but his hands and head as well! Jesus simply responds, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean” (John 13:10). Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are “bathed” all over and cleansed by His blood, once and for all (Hebrews 10:14).
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Jesus exhorts us: “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him” (John 13:15-16 NKJV). How can we “wash each other’s feet?” Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Washing someone’s feet might mean taking action and helping in another’s circumstances. Humbling ourselves in service blesses the person being helped, as well as ourselves. It is yet another way we are molded into His image. As mamas, we need community with other sisters in the Lord. Creating relationships requires us to get involved; we can’t remain detached. God doesn’t want us to just “feel” sympathy for others, but to exert a willingness to respond. He just might want us to weep with those who weep, or help another mom who needs a break. “Well meaning” is powerless when comforting others. God often extends healing through the compassion of His people. As the body of Christ, we are called to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Ask the Lord to show you who you can love today!