The longer I live life as a Christian, the more certain I am of the fact that God is always trying to teach me something! And in John chapter 13, we find some lessons for life Jesus is teaching us through His example of washing His disciples’ feet. Take a few minutes and read verses 1 through 20, and open your heart to what God’s Spirit would teach you.
Jesus is teaching us A LESSON ON HUMILITY (verses 1-5). In this act of foot washing, Jesus modeled humility for us by serving others. In that culture, before you entered someone’s home, a servant would wash your feet. We find Jesus taking the role of that servant. His disciples were too busy arguing over who was greatest in the kingdom of God to see the needs around them (see Matthew 20:26-28)!
As they argued about how great THEY were, Jesus knelt down and began washing their feet! What can we learn? That before honor comes humility (Proverbs 15:33)! Too often we fight for recognition and position; yes, even in the church. Jesus taught us that if you want to put an end to an argument or a conflict, stop fighting with them, humble yourself, and start serving them! Peter learned this lesson, as he himself stated in 1 Peter 5, verses 5 and 6: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble; humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you at the proper time!” If we are attempting to exalt ourselves in the presence of people, God will humble us; but if we will humble ourselves in the presence of God, He will ultimately give us favor with others in order to bring Him glory in His time!
Jesus is teaching us A LESSON ON HOLINESS (verses 6 through 17). It was rude and disrespectful to enter someone’s home without first washing the dirt off your feet. Public baths were used for bathing, but as they would walk home, their feet would again get soiled and need to be washed before they could enjoy fellowship. As a Christian, we get dirty from our contact with the world in our daily walk. And, it is disrespectful and even presumptuous to enter God’s presence with know sin, or dirt in our hearts. Daily we need to have that dirt washed off, not to regain our relationship with God, but to restore a right fellowship with Him so we can step into His presence unashamed! In its most literal form, verse 10 reads: “He that has been once for all time washed all over does not need to do anything more than cleanse his feet!” Once we have been washed all over by the blood of Jesus by acknowledging our sin before God and trusting Jesus to have paid the penalty for that sin, we are secure in our relationship with God. But let’s not let our pride (verses 6 through 8) keep us from confessing the dust of sin on our feet so we can enjoy God’s presence and His power in our lives through open fellowship with Him (see 1 John 1:7-9)!