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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ablution, The Act of Cleansing

Have you ever been annoyed, angered or even embittered by a brother or sister in the Lord? Let me put this another way-has any brother or sister not been in this situation? I mean truthfully now-can any of us say that we have never been annoyed at a dear brother or sister? Competition, jealousy, backstabbing, rumors and the like are part of our sinful human condition.

(Joh 13:12) So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?

(Joh 13:13) "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.

(Joh 13:14) "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

(Joh 13:15) "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.


How difficult, or even embarrassing it is for us to go to that person and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus gives us such a great example of such great humility-or humbleness in His example in the account above in the Gospel of John. While Jesus, the Son of God did not sin thus never had to deal with anger or bitterness toward another he clearly models for us the humble servants heart.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says the following:Jesus washed his disciples' feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God's glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples' feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin.

Mr. Henry then goes on to say “All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ”.

Let's look at Galatians 6:1
(Gal 6:1) Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Therefore according to the context of the above verse-even if the other person in which you may be annoyed with has gone a little sideways in their manner of thinking (gotta be really careful here in how you judge another-remembering the consequences of judging-the subject of another topic) we who are more spiritual are to restore the other person-with gentleness.
Gentleness
πραΰ́της
prautēs
prah-oo'-tace
From G4239; mildness, that is, (by implication) humility: - meekness.


Ouch-there it is again: humility, meekness

There are few things which are as gross and smell as bad as dirty stinky feet. You can probably ask the wife of most any hard working man about this little factoid and they would likely confirm.

Let's now return to the first verse from John stated above:
(Joh 13:12) So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?

The disciples of Jesus did not fully understand the implications of what Jesus was trying to teach them at that time (hint: it wasn't about hygiene or healthcare).
(Joh 13:7) Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter."
And this:
(Mar 4:13) And He *said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?

Let's look at the word washed in verse 12:

νίπτω
niptō
nip'-to
To cleanse (especially the hands or the feet or the face); ceremonially to perform ablution: - wash.
We see a new word (well-for some of us anyway): ablution
Websters Dictionary:
Ablution
ABLU'TION, n. [L. ablutio, from ab and luo or lavo to wash.]

1. In a general sense, the act of washing; a cleansing or purification by water.

2. Appropriately, the washing of the body as a preparation for religious duties, enjoined by Moses and still practiced in many countries.


Verse 13:
(Joh 13:13) "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.

Jesus did not just wash His disciples feet to be extra nice or just because their feet were stinking up the place, or even to get the disciples to be nice to each other for a while.
(Heb 12:2) fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Verse 14:
(Joh 13:14) "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

Matthew Henry:
It has generally been taken for granted by commentators that Christ's washing his disciples' feet, and the discourse that followed it, were the same night in which he was betrayed, and at the same sitting wherein he ate the passover and instituted the Lord's supper;
(Mat 20:26) "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

(Mat 20:27) and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;

(Mat 20:28) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Jesus washed the disciples feet in order to teach us something really important-actually two aspects of this. First off He was demonstrating service to others using foot washing is not beneath Him or any other servant of Christ. We need to be prepared to do the most menial of tasks in service to the Kingdom. Secondly Jesus was showing us the significance of spiritual cleansing. Though perhaps the disciples lacked full understanding initially they would soon fully understand the implications of this.
(Php 2:5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

(Php 2:6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

(Php 2:7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

(Php 2:8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(Php 2:9) For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

(Php 2:10) so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

(Php 2:11) and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here is the final verse we looked at in the Gospel of John:
(Joh 13:15) "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

Jesus set the example for us. We are to be servants to one another. Jesus offered us the gift of eternal salvation, He asks that we follow His commandments.
(1Jn 2:5) but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:

(1Jn 2:6) the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.


By Pastor Dr. Bob Bannister


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