Bible Commentary: “He Washed Their Feet” The Days Of Lent

March 18, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Bible Commentary | Leave a comment
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“After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:5 NIV)

In the book of Exodus God tells Moses, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it.   Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it.  Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come”.  (Genesis 30:17-21 NIV)  You just cannot come before God any way you like; God here states clearly if you don’t wash before ministering to me you die! This was an ordinance forever for Aaron and his descendants but now refers to us all as we all minister before the Lord. This washing took time and they had to wash each time they returned to the Tent of Meeting, so if they went out five times and returned they washed five times. This was done to teach them purity as they ministered before God and to provide them with a reverence of God’s holiness and a dread of the pollutions of sin. They not only had to wash and be made clean when they were first consecrated, but they had to wash and be kept clean whenever they went in to minister. King David tells us, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4 NIV).

John, the apostle, is the only gospel writer to give account of the washing of the apostle’s feet. “It was just before the Passover Feast.  Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me `Teacher’ and `Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:1-17 NIV).

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” this is what Jesus told the twelve. Why, because they were now consecrated to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at  Pentecost. Jesus gave them a new ordinance, wash each other’s feet. Anything we do for each other that washes away the grime of the world and the dust of defeat and discouragement is foot washing.

Child of God – Jesus gave us an example by washing the disciples feet, it was to teach us, who are daily to attend upon God, daily to renew our repentance for sin and our believing application of the blood of Christ to our souls for remission; for in many things we daily offend and contract pollution. Each day we are to ask Jesus to wash our feet that we may stand Holy in His presence for He is Holy. “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8 NIV).

Our prayer:
Lord, help me to realize when I need to be cleansed immediately after I get dirty. I know the pollution of the world and my own flesh can separate me from you and I don’t want that to happen. I want to lift holy hands to you and come into your presence clean form the stains of sin. Cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, as you require. Thank you Lord that you provided so I can be made whole. Amen.

If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I repent of all my sins and open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you have any questions please contact us. We would love to hear from you.


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