The Washing of the Feet

The apostle John begins his account of Jesus' washing of His disciples' feet with these words: "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the last." Yes! The washing of feet is an action expressing the Lord's unceasing love for us. Not only has He taken away our sinful past, He wants us to walk with Him and be like Him in His holiness, love, and humble service so that we may share His glory in the future. Let us receive this love with a heart of gratitude.

Why the Washing of Feet?

Washing of feet has been the tradition of the Jews since the beginning of the Hebrew culture. As a sign of hospitality, the host would receive guests by offering water to let them wash their feet. The washing of feet Jesus performed on His disciples, however, set itself apart from tradition because of its importance in a believer's relationship with Christ.

"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me" (John 13:8). These words of Jesus to Peter are certainly worth serious attention by anyone who wishes to have a part in God's Kingdom.

The Lord Jesus himself instituted the sacrament of the washing of feet and commanded His disciples to follow His example. A Christian needs to have his feet washed after water baptism, for the Lord said, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean" (John 13:10).

What Does It Mean?

The implication of the washing of feet becomes clear when we consider the Bible's teachings on Christian living. Every believer who has been cleansed through baptism has the duty to imitate the perfection of Christ Jesus. The sacrament of the washing of feet is the Lord's invitation to His followers to participate in His divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4).

To be like Christ requires that we forsake our sinful way of life in the past and walk with the Lord in our daily lives. We need to keep our feet from sinning by obeying God's Word, for the Word of God is "a lamp to our feet and light for our path" (Psalm 119:105). Through the constant guidance of God's Word and the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be as pure as Christ and walk side by side with Him on our journey to heaven.

The Lord Jesus also demonstrated His love and humility when He washed His disciples' feet. "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (John13:14). Imitating Christ not only involves preserving purity, but entails sharing His love with others. Christians are called to support one another by humbly serving, encouraging and forgiving each other.

Receiving the washing of feet is therefore an agreement to allow Christ to be the Lord of your life and a commitment to walk in His footsteps. Accept His invitation so that you may have a part in His Kingdom.

Performing the Sacrament

The sacrament must be carried out in the name of the Lord Jesus, since the sacrament is performed on behalf of our Lord, and it is by His name that we are cleansed and saved. In accordance with the example the Lord Jesus has set, the worker conducting the sacrament pours water into a basin, washes the candidate's feet and dries them with a towel.

The worker who administers the sacrament represents the Lord Jesus; this duty is thus generally delegated to church ministers who have been ordained to serve (such as elders, deacons and preachers).

extracted from True Jesus Church: Our Basic Beliefs - an Introductory Brochure