“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Some Christians reading this part of scripture, have concluded that foot washing should be part of the Churches customary routine. Their case is compelling, and they may be right in their interpretation. There is as much support for this as with other things, and Lord knows we could use the humility by getting on your knees with a basin and towel before a brother.
It probably would relieve issues between saints. It may even heal Church splits. (Oh my!)
Jesus pronounced that His act of service was to be imitated by everyone who would follow. He further would assert that His example would be emulated by every believer that followed after Him. Our service to our brother, or sister is to help them become clean Christians.
We have this ministry of the basin and towel to remove the dirt and filth that comes from walking in this world. Of course, we cannot remove sins. But we can serve as Jesus would and intervene with His power.
Cleansing people we encounter will be a demanding challenge.
It will call us to strip our lives down to a minimum, and to get lower. We need to get so low that we’re on the floor. This requires much grace and discipline. We must weed out every pretense and pride–especially the kind that says, “Look at me serving; am I not wonderful? I am a true disciple now.” We are to shake off thoughts like that.
We are to love others, and perhaps be honestly brutal on ourselves. (Not in a morbid way, just less of ‘yourself.’)
While in my first year of Bible college, I developed a bitter dislike for a classmate. He had been a lead guitarist; he was handsome and popular, and he oozed pride from every pore (at least I could see it). I actually took it on myself to be God’s hand in humbling him. I became antagonistic and scorned him every chance I could.
Within days, my prayer life shut down, the heavens became brass. One day I was praying and the Holy Spirit graciously zapped me. I became aware of my sin toward my brother, and I repented. There was a real definite leading, to find a basin and a towel, and then to wash his feet.
God reconciled us, as I kneeled at his feet in that dorm room. From that point on we became very good friends.
We must go lower still. Water always finds the lowest point, were it pools and gathers into the place of healing others. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will not lead us ‘deeper’ until we start practicing true humility.
When we lower ourselves even deeper we find His presence waiting for us. But we must cleanse our own hands first, and His blood must work its ministry on me. It’s then I can proceed to clean the filth off of their feet. If I am not clean myself I will only perpetuate the dirt on to my brother with my dirty hands.
We must scrub our way into the heart of our sister and brother with a basin and towel.
The challenge for us will be a super-challenge. Christlikeness will always demand this humble grace. When we think about being like Jesus we must make sure we are following the Jesus in the Bible. The Jesus who washed dirty feet as a slave.