John 13:13-17, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”
My prayer this morning is that more children of God would understand the precious blessing of the Foot Washing Service of the New Testament Church. I know that there are many children of God in this world that do not even know this is taught in scripture and there are multitudes that cannot understand why one would be so excited to participate in this service. I often try to explain what the Bible has to say about the subject and add that a brother or sister will never understand the joy of foot washing until they themselves take part in this blessed service. In the portion of scripture above, it was Jesus Christ that exhorted the Apostles concerning this blessed service. Jesus, on that night in John 13 exhorted them by:
(1) Telling them they “ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13:14). The word “ought” in this verse implies much more than it being a good idea to do so. In Ephesians 5:28 we are taught “So OUGHT men to love their wives”. In 1 Timothy3:15 Paul tells Timothy “that thou mayest know how thou OUGHTEST to behave thyself in the house of God.” In 1 John 4:11 we read, “Beloved, If God so loved us, we OUGHT also to love one another.” Brothers and Sisters, none of these verses could be interpreted as saying, ‘it’s just a good idea to do so.’ In all of these verses of scripture we can easily see a strong exhortation to obedience.
(2) Telling them that “I have given you an example” (Jn 13:15). The Lord Jesus Christ lived a perfect life here in this world. According to 1 Peter 2:21 Jesus left us an “example, that ye should follow his steps:” If we are to be disciples of the Lord, it is necessary for us to follow that example.
(3) Telling them some things are learned only by experience. When we consider John 13:16, we must keep in mind that Jesus is God, and being God, He never could be taught anything through education and information. But He, according to Hebrews 5:8, learned by His experience. Jesus had always been God, but before He took upon Him the body/nature of a man, He had never experienced the form of a servant in humanity. Thus by taking upon Himself the body/nature of a man He “learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” Now if the Lord learned by experience, doesn’t it make sense that His people can learn much about being a servant by experience. By participating in this service, we the children of God, can learn about being a servant to God by serving His people in this world.
(4) Telling them the happiness is not just in the knowing, but in the doing (Jn 13:17). I know we are all thankful for the understanding that God has given us in His word, but there is so much happiness experienced in the doing of His will. Jesus said Himself, “happy are ye if ye do them.” Now, if the Lord has told us ways to be happy, by all means let us be found doing them. Amen!
Elder Ronnie B. Loudermilk