Jesus washing his disciples’ feet
‘Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’ John 13:6
Suggested Further Reading: Philemon 4–20
The Scottish Baptists were accustomed to wash the saints’ feet literally; I dare say it would not do some of the saints much hurt; but still it never was intended for us to carry out literally the example of the Saviour; there is a spiritual meaning here, and what he means is this. If there be any deed of kindness or love that we can do for the very meanest and most obscure of God’s people, we ought to be willing to do it—to be servants to God’s servants—to feel like Abigail did, when she said to David, ‘Let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.’ Abigail became David’s wife; but yet she felt she was not worthy even to wash his servants’ feet. That must be our spirit. Do you know a brother who is rather angry in temper, and he wants a kind word said to him, and some one says, ‘I will not speak to any such person as he is’? Do it—do it, my dear brother; go and wash his feet! Do you know one who has gone astray? Some one says, ‘I would not like to be seen in association with him.’ My dear friend, you are spiritual; go and restore such a one in the spirit of meekness. Wash his feet! There is another riding the high horse; he is very very proud. One says, ‘I am not going to humble myself to him.’ My dear brother, go to him, and wash his feet! Whenever there is a child of God who has any defilement upon him, and you are able to point it out and rid him of it, submit to any degradation, put yourself in any position, sooner than that child of God should be the subject of sin.
For meditation: The New Testament gives Christians many instructions about their mutual behaviour towards one another. Check yourself against these commands: 1. In general—love; have peace; be likeminded; care. 2. In attitude—be subject; esteem better; prefer; forbear; forgive; be kind; consider; receive. 3. In speech—exhort; comfort; edify; greet; teach; admonish; confess; pray. 4. In action—bear burdens; serve; minister; use hospitality. Whose ‘feet’ are you ‘washing’ (John 13:14)?
Sermon no. 612
29 January (1865)