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Lesson 13 • Fourth Week

The Practice Of Feet Washing

Background Reading:                             Devotional Reading:
Luke 7:36-40; 44-50;                                 John 13:4-20 thy 5:10; Titus 3:5;1 John 1:7

"Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with
me."     John 13:8, KJV

"No, "said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
John 13:8 , NIV

Entitlement - Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges;the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something.
Humble- Not proud; not thinking of yourself as better than other people.


The Church Of God In Christ sees foot washing as the third ordinance of the Church, though there are some denominations that do not. The early church washed each other's feet as a type of hospitality, for in that day the peoples primary mode of travel was to walk. They used sandals, which allowed their feet to get very dirty and dusty, for their roads were not paved like the roads are today. So, when the Saints came in the houses, the host always had big pots of water waiting so they could wash their feet. Washing the feet of the guests was always done by the humblest of the servants and was considered a menial task. It was not a task that the great and important people would stoop to do, for there was no glory in washing someone's feet.

But there was a woman who was considered a sinner (some writers called her a prostitute) who came into the house where Jesus had sat down to eat. "And she stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment" (Luke 7:38). When the Pharisee who invited Him began to criticize Him and the lady, Jesus said that He had something to say.

After Jesus told the parable of the creditor, He then said, do you see this wom­an? He told the Pharisee, that He had entered his house, and was given no water for His feet. No one greeted Him with a kiss and there was no oil poured on His head. But from the moment the woman entered the house she began washing and kissing His feet and using costly ointment on His feet. It took a lot for the woman to come in because normally women didn't openly approach men in that day and they never took down their hair except in the privacy of their homes. But this woman was so overwhelmed by something, that she pushed pass tradition and made it to Jesus. The compassion Jesus showed her was so great, for He said her many sins were forgiven. Jesus told the wom­an that her faith had saved her and that she could go in peace.


Jesus knew He would soon leave His disciples, but He did not want to leave them with that terrible Spirit of entitlement. He wanted them to see that the desire they had to be first, to be honored, to be superior, to be glorified above all the other believers, was not like Him. It was a spirit contrary to His Spirit. He had taught them that except they become as little children, they would not inherit the kingdom.

The mother of two of Jesus' disciples had come to Him and asked for certain seats in the kingdom for her sons. Jesus had to let them know that this was not the right spirit. So, on the night before His last night on earth, He felt that He needed to demonstrate to His disciples how much He loved them, and let them know He desired them to serve each other in humility. He had watched how their passion had increased and it bothered Him—this need to be looked upon with honor. Jesus knew that His disciples knew the job of washing feet was a slave's job, so He washed their feet out of humility. He was trying to teach them that the principle of servant leadership should always be first in their minds. Also, foot washing symbolized the humility that He had always shown to them.

Therefore, when Jesus took off His clothes and took a towel and put it around Himself, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, they knew it was an act of humility. When Jesus came to Peter, he refused to have his feet washed. But Jesus let Peter know that apart from a spiritual washing from sin through the cross, he could not belong to Him. Then Peter got excited and told Jesus not to just wash his feet, but his hands also. Jesus let Peter know that when a believer is washed, he is completely clean. After Jesus had washed their feet, He told them that they should wash one another's feet.


Jesus wants every believer to be humble in their walk with Him. The feet are a part of the body which becomes difficult to wash for one's self, so it's a very humbling experience for both parties, the one who washes as well as the one who receives the feet washing.

The disciples must have gotten the message to the Saints because the early church followed Jesus' directions of washing one another's feet. They followed Jesus' direction and literally obeyed Him by humbly washing one another's feet in love and commitment. Paul told the church that they should look out for and take care of the widows if they had "washed the Saints' feet." It seemed to have been one of the requirements that the widows were required to follow.

So, as believers, let us be active in fulfilling the request that Jesus made of His disciples, and "wash one another's feet."


Why does the Church Of God In Christ accept feet washing as one of the ordinances?
Why is the story about the woman who washed Jesus' feet so important?
What message was Jesus giving to His disciples by washing their feet?
How does being humble help the believer?

Essential Thought- "Washing one another's feet shows an appreciation for what Jesus has done for each of us."