I can’t seem to get out of the books of John and 1 John. Every time I think I can move on to something else in the New Testament, I find myself at those books yet again. I can’t get enough of them, and I always find new revelation in them even after having read them 5 times in a week.
Recently I was in John 13 again; the part where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. I’ve always been blown away by the fact that Jesus chose to wash the feet of Judas, although He knew that Judas would betray Him. I’m also touched by the end of verse one, which says that Jesus “…loved them to the end.” So poetic. But this time, I couldn’t escape how Jesus was serving His friends.
Back in this time period, the feet of those men were incredibly dirty. 2,000ish years ago, men didn’t have Nike or Kenneth Cole. There wasn’t a lineup of Van’s at the front door, and even Billabong flip-flops were non-existent. These were the days where men wore sandals and/or walked barefoot. These guys probably walked A LOT and I’m not entirely sure there was lovely, lush, green grass in that part of the world to be able to rub feet on.
Having noted all of this, we know that there is, of course, a great deal of symbolism and meaning behind what Jesus did and why. I started pondering what feet washing would look like in today’s culture, today’s society and amongst my own friends. I couldn’t help but feel like there was more meaning to this than what I’ve always been taught.
I’m still seeking Holy Spirit on it (because Jeremiah 33:3 says that if we go to Him, He will answer us and tell us great and mighty things that we do not know), but I believe that He challenged me on a few thoughts on how we can identify with foot washing today in the world of Nike and Jimmy Choo.
Firstly – and most obviously – washing someone’s feet is a sign of true humility and service. To be honest, this thought speaks for itself. In Jewish culture, as a host, it was a sign of great honor and respect to wash the feet of one’s guest.(see more at the link at the end)
This act took time, energy, and getting on an incredibly dirty floor to touch perhaps even more horribly dirty feet. Sometimes serving others means getting a little uncomfortable and dirty ourselves, but as we know there is so much power in this prophetic act. And…it transforms lives (theirs, as well as your own).
Secondly, God really challenged me to see that “washing feet” today looks like washing off the effects of the journey for another person. Raise your hand if you know that LIFE CAN BE HARD! Sometimes, the residue of trauma and pain can be so difficult to navigate for a person, and the enemy’s greatest tactic is to keep people isolated and in shame. Yet an understanding of foot washing is an invitation to come alongside others and help them feel clean and free from what they picked up on the journey. What a powerful testimony for us as believers to be able to do this for one another.
Romans 12:10 in The Passion Translation says the following, “Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.” What if outdoing one another in respect and honor looked like constantly SERVING one another, and helping each other clean off the “dust” from the difficult journeys in life? What if foot washing looks more like being a FRIEND to the lonely and an encouragement to the downhearted?
What would the world – and the Church – look like if we lived a life that was marked by “foot washing” and honor?
I know what MY sphere of influence could look like…anyone else want to join me?
~ Mandy Woodhouse