He Washes His Disciples Feet 1.
This is one of a series of short lectures for discussion during Holy Week.
In this meditation on the story of Holy Week and the things Jesus did, we are considering the occasion when Jesus washed His disciples feet.
When analysing any scripture it is useful to think of who, what, when, where, why and how. In this article I would like to concentrate on 'why'.
Why did Jesus wash his disciples feet?
Jesus said that, “He who has washed is clean”. So why are their feet excepted? The reason, i would suggest, is that as we walk through life our feet pick up dust from the world around us and to that extent we are physically unclean. In parallel, as Christians, the mistakes we make in life bring self condemnation and guilt and shame and make an inroad for Satan to accuse us before God. And to that extent WE are spiritually unclean.
But humility in the service of others, as in washing feet, symbolises our repentant attitude in asking for the forgiving of of our ongoing sins which, if left unforgiven, could take us away from God.
So now you may be saying, what does OUR humility in serving others have to do with forgiveness? Isn't accepting God's forgiveness enough?
Jesus came to bring us forgiveness. He did this by living humbly and serving us by dying for us humbly in accordance with the will of God.
So, why is that significant?
Jesus said that “Those who do anything for the least of His brethren have done it to Him”.
Do you remember the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears? She did what the householder, Simon the Pharisee, did not offer; and she was forgiven. Not only that, Jesus said, “Those who are forgiven much will love much”.
When we serve others and are not self serving, other people see the love of God in action through us and seeing this love they can turn to God and be saved. God uses our service to advance the kingdom!
As another example, do you remember the woman who washed Jesus' feet with an expensive bottle of perfume? She did what the disciples of the time could not understand. She loved Jesus so much that she sacrificed a year's wages to honour Him, while at the same time putting herself in a lowly position. She did not try to advance her own position by just anointing His head; no, she stooped down to anoint His feet.
When we stoop down to serve others we are serving Jesus and we should remember what Jesus said to the disciples regarding this woman - “Leave her alone. She has done a beautiful thing; Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her”.
What you do for Jesus in helping others may not be put in the book of Acts when it's completed, but Jesus will always remember, because what you did for them in a positive way you did to Him! It also works negatively as well. Jesus told Saul, for instance, that persecuting His people was the same as persecuting Him. We will have to give account for all that we do. And Jesus said that every idle word we say we will have to account for in the judgement. Many of the idle things we say are to undermine others and we will be held accountable for it all by God.
So now, I hope you see how the things recorded in the bible, and the things Jesus did, were carefully planned? God has planned good works for us to do. When we take those opportunities in humility, relying on God's grace, we live lives pleasing to Him. Titus, Chapter 2 and verse 11-12 says...
Tit 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age;
God in us spreads His love through us, and enables us to help others by His grace, as we put faith in Him. God tells us that when we humble ourselves before Him, He will exalt us in due time (1 Pet 5:6).
When we humbly serve others we are showing our love for them and our appreciation of the love of Jesus for us.
When we are part of His solution and not part of the problem, Jesus even gives us the credit and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have done a beautiful thing!”
What a great God we worship!