Washing disciples' feet
John 13:5 -
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.
If I give a rubik's cube to an infant, he or she would think it to be a colourful block, but a more mature child would know it is a 3D mechanical puzzle. In the same way this scripture has spiritual infants think Jesus was teaching His disciples about serving one another.
Like the infant was not totally wrong about the rubik's cube so also if we do not really understand the actions and purpose of what Jesus did we too will not know the truth.
If Jesus was demonstrating only service then Jesus should have obliged Simon Peter's request to wash his hands and his head too. But Jesus tells him a person who has bath does not need washing also if He does not wash their feet then they would have no part with Him. Was Jesus a cleanliness freak that He rejects people with dirty feet? Jesus Himself at times ate without washing His hands.
Many people lacking spiritual maturity and understanding do social service and think they are blessed in the Lord. No doubt doing social service is demonstrating the love and mercy of God, but if we take God out of this love and mercy then what love is this? Any social service without showing God in it is just human labour in the flesh and would have its reward here on earth but not in Heaven. The love connected with God (in Greek Agape) is rightfully translated in some Bibles not love but charity. Charity is love demonstrated without any return or expectation from the recipient, but most important which most people forget is, it is a love with purpose to proper the recipient. If that prosperity is totally worldly then our reward is worldly but if it has some spiritual factor in it then we are in for a reward in Heaven. Any love without the person truly prospering is not really love.
It is this lack of understand that even greatest social servers like Mother Teresa did not reap real spiritual goodness of what she did. In her last days she complained of darkness and of being far from God. Her heart was in helping the poor and when I met her she also advised me too to join her in her efforts. But in her late days people close to her and her letters to her priest give a picture of what she was going through and how she was spiritually struggling. Her efforts have made her an idol for many and caused people to adore pictures of her and statues of her but God and His purpose for man is lost from all this. When I met her I was not in the Lord and was most humble before her but when I came in the Lord and had spiritual discernment I only felt sad for her. She was a like a little child full of love and desire to serve but was not spiritually guided by anyone.
If we look at the Apostles' activity in Acts, they too did social work but gave more importance to the work of the Kingdom of God and therefore oversaw the social work but did not get totally involved in it. They dedicated people for it and guided them in it. Jesus too cared for the sick and suffering but He being a person of authority did not struggle but gave them instant relief.
Coming to the purpose of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, we see Jesus wanted to wash only the feet and no other part of their bodies. We can look at this in 2 ways one through scriptures and the other historically.
In scriptures the feet symbolizes the way of life of a person. It is for this reason Moses was instructed to remove his sandals when he approached the burning bush on the mountain. The Lord wants us to be what we are and as we are before Him and not to imitate anyone or have a put on.
Washing of feet symbolizes forgiveness of sins. It symbolizes cleaning of the visible filth or known sins that gets attached to us in our walk in daily life. And since the bread which Jesus broke with them also symbolized the sacrifice of Gilt as instructed by the Lord to Moses, therefore Jesus washed their feet at this table before the sacrifice of Gilt.
Historically it is found during the times of Jesus as man on earth the people used to believe children with special needs were cursed (in Greek called Teknon - meaning special children, which was used for children with special needs and also used for chosen children - most promises are only to chosen children not all children). These children with special needs were also called children of the devil by the people because people believed they were without spirit so were used lower than servants made to sit at door steps and wash the feet of people coming into the house. Scientist have found that these special children have two things unique compared to others. Firstly they cannot distinguish between skin colours (shades). For them people fair or dark look almost the same. Secondly they have a short memory; if anyone hurts them, after a short period of time they forget that person had hurt them and relate with them normally as nothing happened.
When Jesus took the wash basin and cloth in hand, He made Himself as one of these children for whom everyone is the same irrespective a person is rich or poor, famous or a nobody, a big sinner or a small sinner, and as one who forgives and never remembers.
Before we partake of the Lord or stand at the altar (meaning being a representative of Him unto His people), we need to forgive each other and get forgiveness for our sins. Paul warns us of the consequences of partaking in an unworthy manner. We also know how Aaron's sons were punished when they came to the altar in an unworthy manner, God consumed them with fire.
Let us realize the importance of forgiving, for this will not only restrict others from truly partaking of the Lord but also restrict us too and put us at grave risk of God's wrath.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord Jesus, You showed us how important it is to forgive and be forgiven so as to receive the holy things of your Kingdom. Lord, You can us authority to forgive sins and all that we bind on earth is bound in Heaven. Lord, work in the hearts of those who find it hard to forgive, bring your people to reconcile with each other...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
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.
Acts 2:39 - For the promise is unto you, and to your children [teknon], and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any one shall sin unwittingly, in any of the things which Jehovah hath commanded not to be done, and shall do any one of them:
3 if the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto Jehovah for a sin-offering.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
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