22 January 2010

John 13 - Washing their feet

< John 12 | Index | John 14 >

There is so much in John 13. Again it's a significant chapter because Yahshua knows he is about to suffer a dreadful death and will now be with the disciples for only a very short time. A man's right footSo everything he says and does is focused on reiterating the most important things so they'll be fresh in their minds after he has gone.

And although there's much here about his betrayal and death, there is also a great deal about loving one another. It's a bit like a mother or father leaving home for a risky hospital procedure and knowing they may never see the children again. What is the last thing you would say in that position? Very likely it would be along the lines of, 'Be good children, always do what Dad (or Mum) tells you and look after one another. I want you all to take special care of your brothers and sisters.'

This is one of the things he has always taught his followers. 'Care for others more than you care for yourself, and especially - love one another'. Knowing they still barely get it, he demonstrates it for them, acting like a household servant and washing their feet.

Verse 1 tells us that 'having loved them, he now showed them the full extent of his love'. What does this mean? It refers to what he is about to do, making himself their servant, the King of the universe making himself nothing so that they could experience his love. And of course, in cleaning their feet so they were ritually pure for the Passover meal he was also showing how he would very soon cleanse them of sin so they would be pure for life in heaven. The foot washing was Love at work, cleaning the loved. The Messiah's death would be the same Love at work, cleaning the loved. And who is Love? Why, the Mighty One himself! If you have seen the Son you have seen the Father - and you have seen Love himself.

But the take home message is 'What I have done for you, you must do for one another'. (verses 12-17)

Will we be like Yahshua, pouring ourselves out for the sake of our friends and family? Will we love one another? There are some groups of believers who hold a foot washing ritual. But it's not about the act of washing feet! It's about a heart that will want to wash feet literally or metaphorically whenever there's a need. It's about becoming a bit lower in order to raise up a brother or sister.

< John 12 | Index | John 14 >

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