Let Me Wash Your Feet

Let me wash your feet.

John 13:6-10, 14-20

New International Version (NIV)


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!”10 Jesus answered, Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”


Culturally, I sense I have an advantage in understanding the dynamics of these few verses of scripture because

I grew up in a very hot and dry part of Africa where it is common to wear open sandals all day long, so much so, one must shake off all dust from their feet outside the door before they go indoors. It’s especially important when entering someone else’s home and customary to remove footwear and leave it just outside the door.  I  also recognize why Peter refuses  to have  Jesus wash his feet.  In the culture I grew up in we are expected to serve our seniors or those who hold positions  of higher authority than we do; they are not expected to serve us. 


The story of the washing of feet took place after after Jesus already knew that the father had given him all authority.

(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,

in an act of humility The son of God lowers his level of service to the washing of the feet of all his disciples. In reply to Peter he gives stern instruction; a principle that goes beyond cultural understanding.  As savior, teacher and Lord, Jesus insists on the feet washing as a measure of fellowship with him and instructs on serving one another from the point of view of heaven. 


In context of the rest of this chapter I find some  key things to think about when we serve one another;

  1. Christ lowered himself to a foot washing servant. (v. 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.)
  2. He set an example for us to follow. (v15. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
  3. We are not greater than he is as he sends us out to serve. ( v.16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him)
  4. We are blessed when we do what he did. (v.17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them)
  5. We will serve those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who do not, and sometimes even if we know they will betray us. (Verse 18 I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’


May God bless our reading and meditation on his Word.

Tsitsi Bergman

Elder – Liaison for the Church Website, GAP 7: Women’s Prayer group and the newly forming Service Committee.

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