Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 8, 2017

Christians with Dirty Feet, Concluded

Lessons at Two Levels

From other sections of scripture we learn the disciples had been discussing their notions of who would be most important in the coming kingdom; not a situation where humility and service would be foremost in their thinking.

Any of the disciples could have taken on themselves the servants job of washing the other disciples feet before the meal but this was certainly not on any of their mental agenda’s.

The Lord was fully aware of what had been going on and wanted to help them learn an important lesson; earlier He had spoken to them about being a servant in Matthew 23:11-12 where it is written:

“11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I think it safe to say this message fell on deaf ears; not one of the disciples was able to apply this advice to the situation they faced in the upper room. I suspect it may have even occurred to some of them that they could do this but their pride kept them from humbling themselves before the group.

The first and most obvious lesson is the lesson of humility and service to others; this is the lesson that Jesus mentions in verses 12-17 where it is written:

“12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.”

I do not think this was the most important lesson that they would later come to understand as referenced by the Lord in verse 7:

“7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Why would our Lord say:

“Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

Then Jesus says in verse 10a, “10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.”

How do These Statements work in the Life of the Christian Today?

As we look back at this scene we see the Lord beginning to explain an important lesson in the Christian life today. As Christians we have been washed free from sin by the shed blood of Jesus Christ but we live our lives, inhabited by a sin nature, in a fallen, sin cursed world which causes our spiritual feet to gather the dusty residue of this sinful world.

The Lord knew we would need to have our spiritual feet washed by the confession of sin to God; that is why we have that section in 1 John 1:8-10 where it is written:

“8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

Confession of sin to God is the spiritual foot washing that only Jesus can do, that is why He can say “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Only God can forgive sin and the spiritual foot washing we need can only come through confession of sin to God.

While the first lesson of service and humility is important, the second lesson is equally important; if we would be completely clean before God we must wash our spiritual feet by confession of sin to God.

When we confess our sins to God the Holy Spirit can take control of our lives and we can manifest lives controlled by the fruit of the Spirit.

One final point, please keep in mind this has everything to do with fellowship and quality of life for the Christian; our salvation has been eternally secured by the death of Christ on the cross so our spiritually dirty feet have only to do with the Holy Spirit being in control of our lives. This is an important point and helps us understand why the Lord would want to teach this lesson to the disciples on His last night on earth as a servant.

“5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11


  1. I love those last two verses. Praise the name of Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
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