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13 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

I. A Lesson on Humility (13:1–5)

Jesus’ foot-washing was an example of humility and service (v. 15). In Middle Eastern countries, it was the slaves who washed the feet of guests; here Christ took the place of a slave. He makes this clear to His disciples in vv. 13–16: if their Lord and Teacher has washed their feet, then they should wash one another’s feet and serve each other in humility. This must have been a striking rebuke to the Twelve, for just that evening they had been debating who was to be the greatest! (See Luke 22:24–27.)

7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”

8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said.

Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”

7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”

8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said.

Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”

9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”

When the Jewish priests were ordained, they were washed all over (Ex. 29:4), which pictures our once-for-all cleansing; but God also provided the laver (Ex. 30:17–21) for them to use in the daily washing of their hands and feet. Today, Christ is cleansing His church through the water of the Word (Eph. 5:25–26; John 15:3). As we daily read the Word, allow the Spirit to search our hearts (Heb. 4:12), and then confess our sins, we keep our feet clean and walk in the light. (See Ps. 119:9.) It is this daily cleansing that keeps the believer in communion with Christ. The lesson here has nothing to do with “getting” or “losing” one’s salvation. It is strictly a matter of communion, fellowship with Christ. Many believers make the same mistake Peter made (v. 9); they want to be saved (washed) all over again when all they need is to have their feet washed.

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