Washing Feet

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. – James 5:9

Last week I got to reflect Jesus’s interaction with Peter when Peter was learning what it meant to get his feet washed and to wash others feet. Washing feet appears to be connected with forgiveness of sins. It seems to concentrate not on the judicial forgiveness, connected with salvation, but rather a regular sort of maintenance to ensure a right relationship with God while we sojourn here on earth. Put another way, we were washed head to toe and adopted into Christ’s family. We were saved. (John 13:10) Yet still, though we are saved, we accumulate dirt on our feet and need to have our feet washed by Christ if we want to commune with Him (John 13:8).  

I have heard this communion with Christ likened to a son who estranged his father. Perhaps he did something that his father could have no part in. This however does not mean the father disowns the child. The child retains his sonship. Yet the child needs to come to the father and make things right if the two are to reconnect on an intimate level. In my estimation several things need to happen in order for this communion to remain, in order for us to remain in Him and He in us.

  1. The child needs to recognize that they have accumulated dirt on their feet
  2. The child needs to desire clean feet
  3. The child needs to admit they can not avoid dirty feet on their own
  4. The child needs to let go of trying to wash their own feet
  5. The child needs to believe that the Father can clean their feet
  6. The child needs to run to the Father and let the Him clean their feet
  7. The key thing…

One last thing that seems to be essential in this process is the washing of others feet (John 13:12-15). The forgiving of others. The grace we’ve freely received and we are called to freely give. God has given us everything, but not to hoard, rather to share and make friends of others (Luke 16:9). If you are feeling distant from God, I have come to believe this a key question to reflect on:

whose feet should you be washing?


Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 18; James 5; Jonah 2; Luke 7

Suggestions for prayer: Ask God to help you understand the truth about your feet and the truth about how to wash others feet. Ask God to make you a merry, hysterical feet washer of others.  

For further study: Listen to these sermons on forgiveness and understanding communion with God from Jesus’ sermon on the Mount: