Lesson 8 The Washing of One Another’s Feet
Reading: Micah 6:6–8
I then, your Lord and Master,
have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
13:1–17. 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. 2And
supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot,
Simon’s son, to betray him; 3Jesus
knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was
come from God, and went to God; 4He riseth from supper, and laid
aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5After that
he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to
wipe them with the towel
wherewith he was girded. 6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter
saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7Jesus answered and
said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8Peter
saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash
thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9Simon Peter saith unto him,
Lord, not my feet only, but also my
hands and my head. 10Jesus
saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his
feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11For
he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12So
after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down
again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13Ye call me Master
and Lord: and ye say well; for so
I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to
wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that ye
should do as I have done to you. 16Verily, verily, I say unto you,
The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than
he that sent him. 17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do
ON THE LESSON TEXT
13:1. This occurred the same night as the
institution of the Lord’s Supper as the context shows. V2. During the
supper. This is the Passover Supper referred to in the last lesson. Vv 4–5.
He arose from the table and girded himself like a servant. The account of his
acts is given in detail. V6. Peter objected to Christ’s washing his
feet. V7. Peter’s objection was because he did not know Christ’s
object. Christ promised to explain later. V8. Christ tells Peter the
seriousness of his refusal. Jesus makes a test of this act. V9. Peter
suddenly submits and would go even farther than he was asked. Vv 10–11.
It was customary to bathe before the Passover. They were clean, all but Judas,
not all but their feet. V12. He now begins to explain his acts as he had
promised to do. Vv 13–15. The command to follow this example is plainly
given. V16. We are servants so we are no greater than our Lord. We are
not to be above doing as he did and as he commands us. V17. A spiritual
benefit comes from obeying this command.
TOPIC: THE WASHING OF ONE ANOTHER’S FEET
THE SCRIPTURAL BASIS
What Christ did.
He arose from the table. This was during the Passover meal. B) Laid aside his
garments. These were his outer garments. C) Girded himself with a towel. This is
taking the attitude of a servant. The towel was used in the service. D) He
poured water in a basin. E) He washed the disciples’ feet. He began not with
Peter. F) He again clothed himself and sat down. G) He then explained what he
What Christ commanded.
force of the command—he used “ought” and “should.” These words are of
sufficient force to all who wish to please God.
To follow his example—“as I have done.” Something else will not do. B) The
act desired is definitely stated—“wash one another’s feet.” This is as
clear as the command to baptize or to observe the communion.
The practice of the church.
alludes to it in 1 Timothy 5:10.
IT IS AN ORDINANCE
Given by divine appointment.
At the time of giving that Christ impresses the fact of his divine lordship and
thus his right to give such a command. B) It was given at the same time and in
the same place as the Lord’s Supper.
Established by divine example.
in the cases of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Jesus set the example, so there
can be no dispute as to what he desires done.
command is as definite as any command to baptize and is as broad as the command
to observe the communion.
It has a religious character.
Christ told Peter he should have no part with hin if he refused. This was
serious. B) The benefit is not physical but spiritual—a blessing accompanies
It is a church practice.
The instruction is to wash one another’s feet. This is not for all men but for
Christ’s followers only. The practice is mutual. B) Paul refers to washing the
saints’ feet. This confines it to the church.
OBJECTIONS TO ITS PRACTICE
It was an oriental custom which Christ observed. To this we reply .
The custom was to wash one’s own feet. The host gave water to a welcome guest
who then washed his own feet. B) Pete did not understand, which proves that it
was not the ordinary washing of feet. C) Sometimes slaves were kept to wash the
feet, hands, and head of their masters. Peter caught the ides that this was what
Christ was doing but he was again wrong. D) Jesus was not scrupulous about
keeping Jewish customs. He could not have insisted strongly on a mere custom on
such a solemn night.
Jesus washed their feet for cleanliness.
traveled the dusty road from Bethany so needed to cleansing. This should have
occurred upon entering. Such an act of cleansing is quite out of place in the
midst of a meal. Why did not Christ wash his own feet? Were they not dusty?
There was no proof that they wore sandals that day. It was cold, so they
probably wore shoes. Christ declared they were clean. Peter at first refused to
be washed then offered also his hands and head. Jesus explained that his purpose
was not cleansing.
It was to teach humility.
of the disciples were humble enough to wash the feet of the others. It is a
lesson in humility. It is more than a lesson—it is a test of humility.
Other good works will do.
washing of the saints’ feet is a good act, but it is more. It is a religious
act. Nothing else will do. WE have no right to substitute for any of the
It is undignified.
Cultured people should not be asked to do so humiliating a thing. B) It is not
immodest if conducted decently and in order—with the sexes parted. It is not
humiliating to the humble but is a revealer of proud hearts who are unwilling to
WHAT IT TEACHES
Christian grace of humility is here taught and exemplified. In the observances
of this ordinance we are led to feel that we cannot be proud in the presence of
him who so humbles himself.
symbolizes our death to the world, the Lord’s Supper shows our communion with
Christ, and this service shows our relation to each other. We wash one
another’s feet, taking our place on one common level. He gave up all for
us—our Master, Christ.