Monday, 18 March 2013

Jesus washes Disciple's feet

This Sunday I taught my Sunday school class. It was a day that I will forever remember. It was beautiful. My lesson was on Jesus washing the feet of the 12.
Funny thing is that I had 13 kids  in my class. That meant that we could act out that scene with out any kid being left out. 

when the time reached for us to start acting out the play, they couldn't stop giggling. I asked them to share the fun. They asked me " teacher, who is Judas?" i smiled at that. I then told them that Judas wouldn't be our focus at that point. I needed 1 to act as Jesus, one as Peter and the rest would be the disciples.

It was fun. Both Jesus and Peter were girls. The boys in my class are very shy and they are not many.  My Jesus character was very good. She went about washing the disciples' feet and drying them with a towel. I am not saying what we used as a towel but just so u know, it was not a real towel. When she got to Peter, that is when everyone in the class started laughing and laughing.  Peter started by complaining and resisting until he knew he had to be washed. The skit was a success and the Kids pretty much understood the whole concept.

But my question is, do we always grasp the whole significance of Jesus washing the disciples feet?
 Here are some of the things i thought to share as we get closer to celebrating Easter.
Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17) occurred just prior to the Last Supper and has significance in three ways. For Jesus, it was the display of His humility and His servant hood. For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to their heart attitudes at that time. For us, washing feet is symbolic of our role in the body of Christ.

The disciples were very familiar with washing of feet as it was always done during communal meals or just before one was treated to a meal at someone's home as the guest's feet were usually messy with dust from walking long miles on dusty roads. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:4), He was doing the work of the lowliest of servants. The disciples must have been stunned at this act of humility and condescension, that Christ,whom they always referred to as  their Lord and master, should wash the feet of His disciples, when it would have been them washing His. But when Jesus came to earth the first time, He came not as King and Conqueror, but as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. As He revealed in Matthew 20:28, He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The humility expressed by His act with towel and basin foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross.

Jesus’ attitude of servant hood was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greater (Luke 22:24). Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet. When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence. To his credit, though, Peter was profoundly uncomfortable with the Lord washing his feet, and being who he was( never being at a loss for words), Peter protested: “You shall never wash my feet!”

Then Jesus said something that must have further shocked Peter: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8), prompting Peter, whose love for the Savior was genuine, to request a complete washing.  My Sunday school kids were excited by this part! Then Jesus explained the true meaning of being washed by Him. Peter had experienced the cleansing of salvation and did not need to be washed again in the spiritual sense. Salvation is a one-time act of justification by faith, but the lifelong process of sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin we experience as we walk through the world. Peter and the disciples—all except Judas, needed only this temporal cleansing. ( Jesus told Peter  in John 13:10-11 , “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.”  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean).

This truth is just one of several from this incident that we can apply to our own lives.  When we come to Christ for the washing of our sins, we can be sure that it is permanent and complete. No act can cleanse us further from our sin, as our sin has been exchanged for the perfect righteousness of Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). But we do need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin-cursed world. The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26) of God, given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Further, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them (and us) " I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15). As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love. When we seek the preeminence, we displease the Lord who promised that true greatness in His kingdom is attained by those with a servant’s heart (Mark 9:35,10:44). Then, the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed (John 13:17).

Just like i told those kids, This act of humility from the Lord is what we ought to emulate. 

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