Mature Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.
Washing feet was a common practice of the Jews. It was done because their feet were dirty. Every day they washed their feet and hands, even when water was scarce. Jesus told about a man who didn’t want to get out of bed to give someone who came to the door some bread. It wasn’t because he was selfish. It was because the man didn’t want to get his clean feet dirty. Washing feet was part of hospitality. Lot offered water to the angels to wash their feet. It was a religious custom for the priests to wash their feet before entering the temple. Washing feet was a form of servitude so a slave washed his master’s feet. Women had many duties – to bake bread, do the laundry, care for the children, spread the bed clothes, and wash their husband’s feet and hands. Servants could do many things for the wives but couldn’t wash the husband’s feet and hands or spread the bed because it was too personal. Children washed their father’s feet to show love and respect. Pupils washed the teacher’s feet to show respect and honor. Feet washing was a continual act of respect, honor, and love.
Jesus chose all of the disciples and they weren’t strangers to him. He grew up with some of them, knew their weaknesses, their strengths, their temperaments, and their personalities. Some were his cousins. Andrew, James, Simon (Peter), and John were fishermen. Nathaniel and Thomas may have also been fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector and could have been wealthy. He invited Jesus to dinner and may have helped fund Jesus’ ministry. Simon was a zealot and was involved with politics. He became a zealot for the cause of Christ. Jesus loved all of the disciples and loved them to the end.
John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
When Jesus washed their feet, he wanted the disciples to understand he was bringing a lesson that was critical to their loving and serving each other. The master never washed their servants’ feet. For the master to wash their servants’ feet was contrary to what every day society did.
John 13:3-4 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet…and was set down again, he said…Know ye what I have done to you?
John 13:15-17 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily…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.
The spirit of Satan entered Judas and the Spirit of the Lord left when Judas betrayed Jesus. Jesus served Judas and washed his feet, even when he knew Judas was going to betray him.
John 13:21-30 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit…and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot…And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this…For some…thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said…Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out…
Jesus loved his disciples for who they were and he didn’t put them down or make fun of them. They were his family and he adopted them as his children. He was considerate of their comfort, their feelings, and loved them to the end.
John 13:33-35 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Jesus reproved the disciples often but he never ceased to love them. Nothing separated them from his love for them. There’s nothing in this outside world that can separate us from God’s love – no person, no trial, no disappointment, no depression, no COVID, or anything else you could name.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ loved his own unto perfection. David had a lot of trials and felt imperfect but knew God would perfect his needs.
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Christ’s love is everlasting – he leads us with everlasting kindness and is with us no matter what we go through. He loved the disciples through their disappointments, anguishes, persecutions, and whatever they went through. Christ’s example was a daily, consistent example of his love.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Leslie was serving snacks to the children at the COVE community center. She was very frustrated with these children and was having a hard time dealing with it. These children had to fit into a routine that was hard for them. Leslie prayed every time she went to serve snacks that God would anoint the children and everything that was being done. As she watched the children, she was making sure they stayed in line and told them to not waste the food they took. One day as she served snacks, she heard a voice say, as I have done so you should do. So washing feet is not just a once a year action but washing feet is in serving others. Serving snacks is in serving and it does not matter what the children do with the service. It is like washing their feet. Who do we have the opportunity to serve each day – family at home, the store clerk, or feeding the children snacks? When we’ve done it to the least of these, we’ve done it to Christ.
Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer…Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.