In Our Master's Footsteps
God calls Christians to forsake
the sinful influences of our society. He also commands us to walk daily in the
footsteps of Christ, imitating him in our words and deeds.
Peter explains that God enables us
to be like him in his nature. "His divine power has granted to us all
things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who
called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his
precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the
corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the
divine nature" (2 Peter 1:3,4).
Footwashing is a call to such a
godly Christian life. We are to walk daily with our Lord, following his
examples each step of the way.
Participating in His Holiness
Our feet represent our behavior
and lifestyle. The Lord Jesus cleanses all our past sins through baptism. But
we still need to continue our lives in a world filled with temptations,
immorality, and godless values. We must leave our former life of sin and detest
sin as much as God detests it.
To continue living in sin after we
have heard the truth is to "spurn the Son of God," (Hebrews ) because it is a disregard for
our Lord Jesus' sacrifice.
It grieves our Lord to see his
children sin, knowing that sin brings on us troubles and hurts. Sin is a
serious matter to God, so serious that he "did not spare his own Son but
gave him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). God loves us so much that he paid
the greatest price to deliver us from sin. If we are willing to rely on Christ
to help us overcome sin, he will create in us a new heart after the image of
We also need to let the word of
God "wash our feet," by listening to and obeying the teachings of the
Bible. The word of God keeps our feet from straying. A psalmist writes,
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalms
119:105 NIV). God's word directs the way that we should go in life.
Footwashing teaches us that Christ
continues to wash us through the word of God. Every believer of Christ must
accept his Christian duty to always abide by God's commands.
Participating in His Body
Jesus commanded his followers to
wash each other's feet. He expected his followers to live with each other as he
lived with them--gentle, patient, and loving.
He also wanted them to teach all
who were to be baptized into his name to obey everything he had commanded them.
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"
(Matthew 28:20 NIV). Jesus Christ continues to live among believers through the
teachings of the church.
David, a king in Israel, said, "I was glad when
they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!' Our feet have been
standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!" (Psalms 122:1,2).
where God's temple resided. For Christians, Jerusalem symbolizes the church, the body of
Christ. To let our feet stand within the gates of Jerusalem is to remain in the community of
believers and adhere to the gospel of salvation which God has given to the
church. Christian life goes hand in hand with church life. When Christians
gather and worship in Jesus' name, the Lord is there among them. The grace of
the Lord, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit flow out
through the church to each member. The church, by means of sermons and Bible
studies, delivers Christ's teachings for us to live by. Having part with
Christ, therefore, also means being part of the church.
Participating in His Love
After his last meal with the
disciples, Jesus left them these words, "A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one
another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
for one another" (John ,35). Love is the mark of Christians, because "God is
love." (1 John 4:8). When we receive footwashing, we receive Christ's call
to share God's love. We are to love others with the love of God.
We must love by humbly serving
others. Jesus exemplified such humility. In the ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman
world, the washing of feet was often the lowest form of servitude, a task
delegated to slaves. But Jesus, the glorious king of heaven, got down and
washed the feet of sinners. Most amazing of all, he even washed the feet of his
betrayer! The loving example of our master compels us to do likewise. Jesus
said, "I have given you an example, that you also
should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not
greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If
you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:15-17). If
our master bows down to serve us, his unworthy followers, how much more ought
we to serve each other! True love is not merely a feeling or a philosophy. It
is demonstrated through actions. By washing our feet, Christ sends us to love
our neighbors, and even our enemies. Christ laid down his life for us while we
were still his enemies. He wants us in turn to lay down our lives for others,
even if they are ungrateful. We must dedicate our feet to go into the world and
bring the good news of salvation to everyone. May our footprints be the
imprints of God's love in the world.