June 2024

Foot / Feet washing

“feet washing” or “foot washing”

When the disciples entered the supper room, their hearts were full of resentful feelings. Judas pressed next to Christ on the left side; John was on the right. If there was a highest place, Judas was determined to have it, and that place was thought to be next to Christ. And Judas was a traitor. {CCh 299.1}
Another cause of dissension had arisen. At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests, and on this occasion preparation had been made for the service. The pitcher, the basin, and the towel were there, in readiness for the feet washing; but no servant was present, and it was the disciples’ part to perform it. But each of the disciples, yielding to wounded pride, determined not to act the part of a servant. All manifested a stoical unconcern, seeming unconscious that there was anything for them to do. By their silence they refused to humble themselves. {CCh 299.2} Also {DA 644.2}
The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He, the divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that would have impeded His movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what was to follow. “After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.” This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw themselves in altogether a new light. {CCh 299.3}

Feet Washing More Than a Form.–We do not come to the ordinances of the Lord’s house merely as a form. . . . {Ev 274.1}
He has instituted this service, that it may speak constantly to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. . . . This service cannot be repeated without one thought linking itself with another. Thus a chain of thought calls up remembrances of blessings, of kindnesses, and of favors received from friends and brethren, that have passed out of mind. The Holy Spirit, with its quickening, vivifying power, presents the ingratitude and lack of love that have sprung from the hateful root of bitterness. Link after link of memory’s chain is strengthened. The Spirit of God is at work upon human minds. The defects of character, the neglect of duties, the ingratitude to God, are brought to the remembrance, and the thoughts are brought into captivity to Christ.–Review and Herald, June 7, 1898. {Ev 274.2}

The Purpose of the Ordinance of Service.– Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. By the example of our Lord and Master, this humiliating ceremony has been made a sacred ordinance. Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by His Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. {Ev 275.1} Also {FLB 298.4}
As Christ celebrated this ordinance with His disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas. So we shall be convicted as Christ speaks to our hearts. The fountains of the soul will be broken up. The mind will be energized, and, springing into activity and life, will break down every barrier that has caused disunion and alienation. Sins that have been committed will appear with more distinctness than ever before; for the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance. The words of Christ, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,” will be clothed with new power.–Review and Herald, Nov. 4, 1902. {Ev 275.2}
Test of the Heart.–This ordinance of feet washing was made a religious service. . . . It was given as something to test and prove the loyalty of the children of God. When modern Israel observes the sacramental ordinance, this ceremony should precede the partaking of the emblems of the Lord’s death. {Ev 275.3}
This ordinance was given for the benefit of Christ’s disciples. And Christ meant all that He said when His lips uttered the words, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. . . . If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” He designed by this to test the true state of the heart and mind of those who participated therein.–Manuscript 8, 1897. {Ev 275.4}
For All Time in Every Country.–In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing and the sacramental supper, to be observed through all time by His followers in every country. These should ever repeat Christ’s act, that all may see that true service calls for unselfish ministry.–Signs of the Times, May 16, 1900. {Ev 275.5}

The ordinance of feet washing is an ordinance of service. This is the lesson the Lord would have all learn and practice. When this ordinance is rightly celebrated, the children of God are brought into holy relationship with each other, to help and bless each other. {FLB 297.4}

The ordinance of feet washing most forcibly illustrates the necessity of true humility. While the disciples were contending for the highest place, in the promised kingdom, Christ girded Himself, and performed the office of a servant by washing the feet of those who called Him Lord. {FLB 298.3}

God’s Remedy for Selfishness and Self-exaltation.– There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance [foot washing] preceding the Lord’s Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother. {1MCP 277.1}

John 13:14, 15 (Matthew 23:8; 1 Corinthians 11:28). Humility an Active Principle.–Humility is an active principle growing out of a thorough consciousness of God’s great love, and will always show itself by the way in which it works. By taking part in the ordinance of feet washing we show that we are willing to perform this act of humility. We are doing the very thing Christ did, but this is not to be talked of as an act of humiliation. It is an act which symbolizes the condition of the mind and heart. {5BC 1139.2}

The children of God are to bear in mind that God is brought sacredly near on every such occasion as the service of feet-washing. As they come up to this ordinance, they should bring to their remembrance the words of the Lord of life and glory: “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” {RH, June 22, 1897 par. 6}

The ordinance of feet-washing has been especially enjoined by Christ, and on these occasions the Holy Spirit is present to witness and put a seal to his ordinance. He is there to convict and soften the heart. He draws the believers together, and makes them one in heart. They are made to feel that Christ indeed is present to clear away the rubbish that has accumulated to separate the hearts of the children of God from him. {RH, June 22, 1897 par. 8}

The ordinance of feet washing is an ordinance of service. This is the lesson the Lord desires all to learn from it. He desires us to think of its whole meaning, not merely of the act of outward cleansing. This lesson was given to reveal the great truth that Christ is an example of what we, through His grace, are to be in our intercourse with one another. It shows that the entire life should be one of humble, faithful ministry. This ordinance means much to us; and when rightly practised, the children of God are by it brought into holy relationship with one another, to bless and help one another. {ST, May 23, 1900 par. 1}