Sermons on foot washing usually illustrate the need for personal humility and reveals to each person that he or she has pride in them that need to be addressed. For example, Christians are willing to lead, but are not willing to do anything at the bottom levels of his or her ministry. Like foot washing no one wants to wash the feet belonging to other people, yet every ministry has a job that no one wants to fill.
Even the local church leaders are concerned why their congregation is not out serving the needs of their community. At the same time the same leaders are not being the example for their congregation where Christ served the needs of anyone who needed his help. Itís not that the workers are few, but God has called them to a ministry of church leadership that demands their attention.
Everyone has a reason why they cannot get involved nor do those small jobs that don't put you in the limelight. Its not that those specific tasks are jobs you donít have the expertise for, for most ministerial jobs require you to honor those that are down and out above yourself. Those jobs are just plain beneath your pride.
Have we as Christians have forgotten our promise to serve Christ the rest of our lives or that we have been bought at a price with the blood of Christ? We have the example of Jesus Christ who lowered himself dramatically to that of a Lamb to serve the needs of God for mankind. In his service to God, Jesus Christ became sacrificial lamb to reconcile every man to God.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
The Bible speaks of a day when the arrogant will be humbled. This of course speaks of being forced to submit to the overwhelming authority of God. The Christian, on the other hand, chooses to submit to the absolute authority of God voluntarily. Jesus gave all he had to God and by a plan worked out before creation submitted himself and his body to the priests that sacrificed him to save the people of Israel. He considered Godís will to be his food until he finished the work the father sent him to do.
I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of serving God Jesus did exactly what he saw his father doing and worked with God in everything he did. Still at the same time, he would have walked by the blind man on the Jericho road if he had not heard him calling. He would have walked past the boat the disciples were in on the night Peter asked for permission to walk on water. Jesus was so focused on doing the will of God that he stopped what he was doing to do the will of God.
I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. 2 Samuel 6:21-22
Let's compare the statements of both Jesus Christ and king Davidís. Both statements show a choice to make a deliberate effort to serve and worship God. How can we say that we love God with all our being if we do not obey him? Serving God doesn't mean that we have to become undignified, it means that we serve God in whatever capacity we can.
The last sermon I heard on washing feet was on how bad feet can stink. We know that Moses had to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground and John the Baptist did not consider him self-worthy of unlacing Christís shoes. Whether or not the feet of men and women stunk from wearing shoes should never be the reason we decline the needs of the person God wants us to serve. So why did Peter argue with Jesus and for some time refuse to let Jesus wash his feet?
Podiatrists become comfortable with handling the feet of other people because they become accustomed to handling the medical needs of their patientís foot. Other than tickling the foot of friends while playing with them our feet is rarely touched by other people and in some cultures certain positions of the foot is an insult. Was Peter embarrassed when Jesus reached for his foot or did he feel unworthy of Christ washing his feet? Or did Peter feel comfortable with the idea. Regardless of what occurred in the upper room there are some situations in the Christian life you just plain feel you ought to avoid. Washing feet that stinks is on par with the things you donít want to do for the Lord. Washing feet has more to do with lowering your self esteem so you can serve the person who has fell to the lowest level of society. In serving the needs of the down and out you may be serving the person God loves and lead them to Jesus Christ.
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
We also must consider that the roads of Abrahamís day were unpaved dirt roads. During the dry seasons constant foot travel would work the pathway into a fine dust. After a rain the dust would turn into mud that would splatter the feet and ankles of the traveler. Washing the feet of the person who had contact with the road did not require a bath when all one needed was to have his feet washed. Today that custom is not unlike wiping off our feet on the welcome mat before entering the house or washing our hands before eating.
All of us were washed with the blood of Christ when we gave our lives to Christ. However we become dirty with our constant contact with the world and the peer pressure to be accepted by the world. As Christians we stumble before God to become more like the world.
Although all of our sins have been forgiven we unknowingly turn our eyes to the ways of the world and become oblivious to the sins of the world. The sin of the world corrupts everything it touches and transforms our lives into a state God sees ungodly. Living by the Godís standards requires a disciplined life to serve others. Like washing the feet for those who have walked on byways of the world we must cleanse our lives of the filth of the world.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
We can constantly bathe our lives daily in Godís word and purify our lives the best we can with God's help. With all of our precautions, sin can invade our lives and Jesus is there to reveal our sin and willing to wash our feet and help avoid the same sin in the future. Washing our own feet demands that we correct the problems our sin has created and having to correct the damage our sin has done is always humbling.
whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slaveó just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-28
Being a servant of God is not easy.
Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20
Normally the world rejects people of different nationality, beliefs, races, and color for no apparent reason other than they are different. It was true for Jesus and it is true today for those who serve him. Jesus warned the disciples that the costs of being his servant would cause the world persecute them for talking about their sin. As one of Christís disciples you would become the like the good Samaritan that washed the wounds of a person the Jews reduced to being the scum of the earth. It means that you would have to associate with the tax collector and the prostitute that washed your feet with her tears and hair. It may place you in an uncomfortable position to tell your Christian leaders they are in sin. Peter wrote that if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "1 Peter 3:14
"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. Matthew 10:24-25
A good Sunday school teacher did not get to be a teacher without experiencing the lessons that involved pain in his or her life. In life I became a carpenter by carrying the lumber, driving the nails and cleaning up after the mess made in constructing the finished product. Yet, as the leader of carpentry crew, I did just as many little jobs as big ones to complete what I contracted to do. However, as the leader of the crew I had a greater responsibility of making sure the crew was paid for their effort and ensure they had more work in their future. While I was the leader of my carpentry crew, I became a servant of my crew to ensure their prosperity. This is also true of being Christ disciples.
The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11
Everything that Christians do is done to build the kingdom of God. However, not everything involved with building the kingdom is pleasurable or easy to do. In fact some Christians avoid entry-level jobs they consider beneath them. In this case, washing the feet of your fellow man serves as an example of the things your pride wonít allow you to do. Yet, those Jobs still need to be done.
The things that stand in the way of the growth of Godís Kingdom are the things we find reasons why you can't do them. The number of people that call themselves Christians are in the millions which reveals that there no shortage of workers just those who have excuses why they can't work in Godís field? Is Jesus Christ truly our Lord when we fail to confront the world with their sins? It is not an pleasant or easy task and there is a right way and a wrong way of confronting, but you will never be God's servant by complaining or sitting at home twiddling the thumbs. ?>