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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Is Foot Washing For Today?

In light of the recent head covering thread I thought I would bring this up because it seems they are two similar types of issues on which some Christians disagree.

In John 13 we read of our Lord washing the disciples’ feet right before His last Passover with them. Verses 13-17 are what I believe to be the main portion of that passage to be considered:

“13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

So taken at face value it would seem that our Lord is giving a clear command not only to the 12 but also to every believer throughout all ages to follow literally this example of washing one another’s feet. And we cannot say that this was part of the Old Covenant because there was no such command given in the OT Scriptures.

From what I understand the vast majority of Christians throughout history have seen this as a cultural issue because in those days and in that culture people wore sandals and it was very common for people to wash others' feet after a day’s walking journey. Other groups have taken this passage very literally and apply it literally in their gatherings. So who’s right? I’d respectfully side with the first line of reasoning just mentioned as the correct interpretation, and would say that today we are to obey the spirit of that example and we are not commanded to literally wash each other’s feet.


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Oracio

 2014/6/25 14:31Profile
havok20x
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Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 786


 Re: Is Foot Washing For Today?

There have been a couple of instances in the assembly in which someone who was teaching actually washed my feet.

Those were very memorable times. It is symbolic, but very meaningful. It isn't just tradition for traditions sake. I learned a lot from it.

 2014/6/25 14:54Profile
twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1999
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

We are not commanded to wash the feet of one another, however I grew up with an occasional foot-washing service. It did not happen often and as I look back on it, I am sure there was a real prompting of the Holy Spirit to do so as these were times of great humility, repentance to one another, and brokenness before God. I remember them as glorious times when the Holy Spirit really did a deep work in the hearts of all of us.


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Travis

 2014/6/25 15:18Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5355
NC, USA

 Re:

I think when Jesus said "you ought to wash one another's feet" he was using this statement as a way of stating they should be willing to lower themselves to serve each other. Jesus washed the disciples feet because the roads were dusty and their feet were dirty.

I heard the story about how Eric Liddell (chariots of fire) when he was imprisoned in China used to mop out the overflowing latrines on a regular basis. In so doing he was "washing the feet" of the brethren.

When a church has a foot washing ceremony peoples feet are probably the cleanest they will ever be... At least mine would be. So it really isn't needed and is only symbolic.

I think Jesus means for us to do real acts of humble service that are really needed. It might be visiting an elderly person with some fresh picked blueberries or washing someone's car or dog.

It might mean washing their feet if it is needed.


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Todd

 2014/6/25 15:26Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5355
NC, USA

 Re:

Double post


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Todd

 2014/6/25 15:27Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5355
NC, USA

 Re:

Double post


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Todd

 2014/6/25 15:42Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

TMK writes:

Quote:
I think when Jesus said "you ought to wash one another's feet" he was using this statement as a way of stating they should be willing to lower themselves to serve each other. Jesus washed the disciples feet because the roads were dusty and their feet were dirty.

I heard the story about how Eric Liddell (chariots of fire) when he was imprisoned in China used to mop out the overflowing latrines on a regular basis. In so doing he was "washing the feet" of the brethren.

When a church has a foot washing ceremony peoples feet are probably the cleanest they will ever be... At least mine would be. So it really isn't needed and is only symbolic.

I think Jesus means for us to do real acts of humble service that are really needed. It might be visiting an elderly person with some fresh picked blueberries or washing someone's car or dog.

It might mean washing their feet if it is needed.


Amen. I want to hone in on verse 14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” Again, for the early disciples this was a command to be taken literally, because it was common for servants to literally wash their master’s feet in that culture. The same would apply to head coverings and the command in Romans 16:16 and 1Peter 5:14 to greet one another with a literal holy kiss. Those were common practices which symbolized certain spiritual realities, one symbolizing subjection and the other symbolizing brotherly love.


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Oracio

 2014/6/25 15:54Profile
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 786


 Re:

Brothers,

at this point we need to be really careful.

Everything that was commanded of us is not just inwardly applied.

Should we just merely remember the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus, but never take the Lord's supper?

Should we just merely acknowledge our salvation, but never get baptized?

*********************

God does indeed look at the heart; however, let us not love in word only. "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."

 2014/6/25 17:50Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5355
NC, USA

 Re:

Hello havok-

I am in agreement we must be careful. Jesus did not tell the disciples to wash each other's feet in remembrance of Him. I think in the context of the passage it seems clear that Jesus was exhorting his disciples to humbly serve one another.

In other words, when the disciples heard Jesus's statement about washing each others feet, I am sure they understood that what he was saying that yes, they should wash each others feet if needed but that they should be willing to humble themselves and be a servant in ALL cases. Jesus stressed this throughout his time with his disciples and it was punctuated and perfectly illustrated when he took up the towel.

In our day and age of daily showers and shoes the necessity of feet washing just isn't there. Back then the lowliest servant in the house got the job of washing guest's feet when they came into the house. There was a practical reason- namely dirty and dusty feet. When guest reclined at a table as was the custom, one person's feet would be near another person's head. Thus the practical and appreciated requirement for feet washing.

As another example, my dad used to tell me to "keep my nose clean." He didn't mean for me to literally keep my nose clean, although it might need it- what he meant was to stay out of trouble.

I think Jesus's statement to the disciples was exactly like this. "You ought to wash one another's feet" was a vivid way of saying "be your brother's humble servant."

Now, once again, I have no problem with churches that have foot washing services. My mom grew up in a Brethren church and they did this when they had communion. But she said you better believe that everyone's feet who were there were in pretty stellar condition prior to the washing.

Put it this way- I would be more blessed to be surprised by a spontaneous humble act of service from a brother than to have my feet washed in a ceremony.

I recall a prayer time that a group of us used to attend early on Saturday mornings. The times of prayer were powerful. One morning we got there and the brother who led the group was standing outside the room. We saw the room inside was lit by candle light and there were simple place settings at the tables inside. As we entered, all the brother said to each of us was "There is a place prepared for you." I am telling you I melted. We went in and had a simple communion service together and it was one of the most spiritually impactful experiences of my life. That is because it was a SPONTANEOUS act of service on the part of that dear brother.


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Todd

 2014/6/25 18:12Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

havok20x writes

Quote:
Brothers,

at this point we need to be really careful.

Everything that was commanded of us is not just inwardly applied.

Should we just merely remember the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus, but never take the Lord's supper?

Should we just merely acknowledge our salvation, but never get baptized?

*********************

God does indeed look at the heart; however, let us not love in word only. "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."



I believe a key difference is that concerning the Lord's Supper and believer's baptism, there is ample scriptural evidence and authoritative teaching that supports the continual practice of those two ordinances.


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Oracio

 2014/6/25 18:42Profile





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