Chapter 13 Outline:
Vs 1, The Love of Jesus Christ
Vs 2, 18, 21-30, Demon Influence and Possession
Vs 3, Personal Sense of Destiny – Plan of God – Dominion, Advent, Seated at the Right Hand of the Father
Vs. 4, Priestly, Humble Servant Hood of Jesus Christ – Preparation for Service
- Vs. 5, Humility for Service
John 13:5 – Humility is Needed for True Service
John 13:5, “Then He poured* water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”
Verse 5 begins the process of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. As we noted in verse 4, His preparation for service included girding Himself with the towel, which was analogous to Him entering into Priestly service and acting like a man as He humbly serves.
The two ends of the towel also have an interesting analogy, as one end is used to wash and the other to dry. This is a fascinating depiction of Christ’s priestly function on the Cross, and of His resurrection. You see the Cross is where He was the Priestly representative for the sins of all the people, and as a result, we who believe are washed clean. (We will see this explained in verse 10). The drying end of the towel speaks of our preparedness to walk in our new cleansed state, just as the resurrection of our Lord was the demonstration of our resurrected life to walk in the newness of Christ. So, the two ends of the towel were used to wash and dry, which represent the work of our Lord in His Spiritual death on the cross and the newness of life through resurrection.
The other analogy we saw was the shedding of His outer garment, which depicted the fact that God became man in order to serve. He was operating in His humanity at the Cross and in resurrection. He deprived Himself of His Deified powers while being our servant. In addition, as we will see in verse 12, once His human priestly service was completed, He put His garments back on once again, representing His Glorified Deity in Hypostatic Union. This is also seen in what Paul stated in Philippians 2:5-11.
Phil 2:5-11, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but deprived Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
John 13:3-12 paints for us the portrait, while Phil 2:5-11 gives us the caption.
“Christ’s actions in verses 1-5 represent what He did when He left heaven to come to earth. He arose from His throne, laid aside the outward expression of His glory, became a servant, and humbled Himself to die on a cross. After He had completed the work of redemption, He put on His garments and sat down (v. 12), foreshadowing His resurrection, ascension to glory, and enthronement at the Father’s right hand.” (Warren Weirsbe Expository Outline)
This act by Jesus Christ truly made an impression on the 11 Apostles, and especially on the second main character, Peter as He later teaches the lesson of humility in 1 Peter 5:5-6.
1 Peter 5:5-6, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”
Humility is the quality or status of being humble. While the noun “humble” has many definitions, ranging from, “feeling of insignificance and feeling of inferiority” to “low in rank or low in importance,” none of these definitions relate to the Biblical word. Humility or being humble in the Plan of God is recognition of the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and submitting to that authority. Humility is recognition of authority. Since the Bible is the mind of Christ, submission to the authority of our Lord is tantamount to consistently renewing your mind. When we humbly submit by our daily intake of God’s Word, we are operating under grace orientation and humility.
Through consistent Perception, Metabolization, and Application (PMA) of Bible doctrine, arrogance is brought low or humbled, while…
- The filling of the Holy Spirit.
- Grace Orientation.
- Personal Love for God the Father.
- Impersonal Love for all Mankind.
- A Personal Sense of Destiny.
- Occupation with Christ.
… are raised to the highest level of function.
In Biblical humility, the independence of human power and ability is reduced to zero, so that dependence on the power and ability of God is increased to the maximum through the function of grace. At the point of faith in Christ, you reduced yourself to a state of total humility. You recognized you were a sinner and knew that you could not rectify your sins or save yourself. Therefore, you accepted the cleansing and saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Biblical humility is neither derogatory nor undue self-depreciation. The mandate of James 4:10, “humble yourselves before the Lord,” is a mandate that precedes any effective use of the Problem-Solving Devices. Therefore, humility is a system of Divine viewpoint thinking, related to Grace Orientation and Occupation with Christ.
This means that humility is a system of recognizing the authority of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Church, and that He has delegated all authority in the Church Age to the Word of God, especially the Mystery Doctrine found in the Epistles, and the Pastor-Teacher as God’s delegated authority to teach His Word.
This means that humility is a system of cognition of Bible Doctrine, resulting in the believer living in the Directive Will of God (learning from your right Pastor-Teacher) rather than the Permissive Will of God (having your ears tickled).
Therefore, the cleansing of your feet, rebound / confession of your sins, is paramount to the PMA (Perception, Metabolization & Application) of Bible Doctrine and living the Christian way of life, where the simple fact of recognition of your sins is an act of humility as you name them to God the Father.
Foot washing was; 1) Needed in Palestine, (The streets were dusty and people wore sandals without socks or stockings); 2) A mark of honor for a host to provide a servant to wash a guest’s feet; 3) A breach of hospitality not to provide for it (Gen 18:4; 1 Sam 25:41; Luke 7:40-50; 1 Tim 5:3-16).
1 Sam 25:41, “She (Abigail of Carmel who became David’s wife) arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants (David).””
1 Tim 5:10, “Having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.”
Therefore, in regards to our spiritual life it; 1) is necessary for your spiritual walk; (1 John 1:9); 2) glorifies God the Father as He provided Jesus Christ; 3) is part of the Protocol Plan of God.
During that time, before and afterwards, foot washing was to be done by the host or the host’s slave / servant as noted in vs 15-16. Therefore, Christ’s act within the context of first-century Judaism was truly shocking; an absolutely stunning example of humility that must have made a deep, lasting impression on the disciples. We can’t imagine a more powerful way that Jesus could have left His disciples “an example” of the attitude they must develop to effectively lead the people of God. This was a striking rebuke of the Apostles’ arrogance, for previously that evening, they were debating who was to be the greatest! Luke 22:24-27
Pastor R.B. Thieme Jr. brings out the issue of protocol and the confession of sins.
“As we come to this table there is a terrible breech of manners. In the ancient world, they always came into a room barefooted. They kicked off their sandals at the door. There is a pool of water there, and they are supposed to go through the pool and have their feet dried by someone on the other side. But they came in with dirty feet. They skipped the pool of water. And they were now sitting down at the table. Jesus has clean feet; everyone else has dirty feet. So, the Lord Jesus Christ was not going to teach anything until He taught the importance of rebound (confession of sins) before you can take in Bible doctrine, and at the same time, correct the manners of the disciples.” R.B. Thieme Jr.
Before coming to the Supper, the disciples had already bathed. The taking of a bath is analogous to salvation, the washing of the entire body. As we have noted, the disciples mental attitude sins had been fired up in the discussion of “who is the greatest.” As a result, even though they had already obtained salvation, they now had sins upon their souls. Therefore, we begin to see the principle unfold, one bath with many washings.
So, we understand that it was customary to wash the feet before entering the house and dinning at the table. (Today the custom would be to wash your hands before dinning in the U.S.). The picture we are seeing is that of “Rebound,” the confession of our sins, especially before taking in the Word of God. If you come with dirty feet or hands, what should you do before sitting down to dine with the Lord? Well, before you eat the Lord’s food (Bible doctrine), you must wash your feet – confess your sins.
By walking through the streets, the disciples have accumulated filth on their feet. This is analogous to being a believer who accumulates sins on his soul during his day, and as a result is out of fellowship with the Lord.
The dinner represents fellowship with the Lord in which food was involved. Our greatest fellowship with the Lord is when we meet together to dine upon Bible doctrine. If you cannot partake of food with the host having dirt on your feet, you cannot dine on Bible doctrine with the Lord having sins on your soul. Therefore, you cannot take in Bible doctrine with sins on your soul. That is being out of fellowship. If you are out of fellowship, you cannot take in Bible doctrine.
The feet are also representative of Christian service. It is impossible to serve the Lord with dirty feet. At the beginning of the previous chapter, the feet of Jesus had been anointed with oil, while at the beginning of this chapter, the feet of the disciples are washed with water.
Oil on the feet of the Savior indicates the sustaining ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Water on the feet of the disciples indicates the cleansing of the Rebound Technique, which enters you into fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Notice in this scene that Jesus did not have to have His feet washed. This is analogous to the Doctrine of Impeccability. He was Non-Posse Peccare, and Posse Non Peccare. Which are Latin phrases used to indicate that our Lord was “not able to sin” in His Deity and “able not to sin” in His humanity. The humanity of Christ was temptable but able not to sin. The deity of Christ was neither temptable nor peccable. Jesus Christ in hypostatic union was, therefore temptable but impeccable. The temptations were real, but our Lord was able not to sin. Therefore, He was impeccable or without sin of His own.
Yet, the disciples needed to have their feet washed. They had Old Sin Natures and periodic carnality. Therefore, Jesus washed their feet. This is a picture of Christ providing the basis of “rebound” by means of the Cross.
Rebound is taught in 1 John 1:9, but the basis for it is 1 John 1:7. See also Psa 32:5; 38:18. In addition, the Levitical sacrifices told of the confession of sin, as did sacrifices prior to the giving of the Law, Gen 4:3-7. Remember that the bath prior to coming to dine is a picture of our salvation through the cleansing Word and blood of Jesus Christ. John 15:3; Eph 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Rev 1:5.
Foot washing is analogous to Rebound after salvation, as a means of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) with the result of producing Divine good.
The first Greek word in this sentence is the Adverb EITA – εἶτα (i’-tah), which is a primary particle meaning, “then, next, therefore, or furthermore,” and denotes sequence. So, we could translate this as, “after that” or “next.”
So, our Lord began the process of forgiving our sins after He recalled His Personal Sense of Destiny and physically preparing Himself, as a man should, to conduct His priestly servant responsibilities.
The next word of interest is the word for “poured*.” This too is asterisked for a Dramatic Present Tense in the Greek, but translated with the Past Tense in the English.
The word is BALLO – βάλλω (bal’-lo) in the Active, Indicative, which means, “to throw or cast.” The interesting analogy here is that the devil BALLOS (put) into the heart of Judas, betrayal in verse 2, while the Lord Jesus Christ BALLO‘s water into a basin for the cleansing of sin in verse 5.
Also throughout the Bible, “water” [HUDOR – ὕδωρ (hoo’-dore)] is analogous for the Word of God. Therefore, the devil is trying to throw his negative cosmic influence into the souls of people, while the Lord Jesus Christ is working to wash man clean by throwing His Word into the souls of people. Our Lord poured the water into a basin, NIPTER – νιπτήρ (nip-tare’), which is from NIPTO – νίπτω (nip’-to) (which we will see below). NIPTER means, “a vessel for washing the hands and the feet,” “a basin.”
“Basin” is only used here in the New Testament. The first time “basin” is used in Scripture is in Ex0 12:22, in regards to the blood to be placed on the doorpost of the first Passover. This too points to the cross of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
Exo 12:22, “You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.”
When you connect the blood spots of the lintel and two doorposts, you will see a cross.
See also, Exo 35:16; Lev 8:11; 1Kings 7:30-38 (Solomon’s temple and the Basins for cleansing); and Zech 9:15 for further analogies in regards to “basin” and the cleansing of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
The next phrase is “and began” which is KAI ARCHO. KAI – καί (kahee) means, “and, even, or also.” The conjunction “and” is appropriate here. This is followed by the Ingressive Aorist, Middle, Indicative of ARCHO – ἄρχω (ar’-kho). ARCHO literally means, “to be first, (in political rank or power), reign (rule) over;” or figuratively, “to begin.”
The Ingressive denotes entrance into a state or condition. He began His Royal High Priestly service.
The Indirect Middle Voice is appropriate, because it stresses the Lord as producing the action of the verb, but unlike the Active Voice, it also stresses some effect back to Him. So, the word chosen for our Lord to begin the process of washing the disciple’s feet, the process of cleansing all of mankind from their sins, is a word that means, “rulership” in the Middle Voice. This is a first glimpse at our Lord’s right to have bestowed on Him His third royal patent of the, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Because of His saving work to cleanse us of our sins, the Father bestowed on Jesus Christ in hypostatic union a new Royal Title. Therefore, Christ rules because of His act of cleansing – pouring out the water. The Middle Voice also reminds us that the cleansing act of our Lord is intended to gather a royal family to accompany our Lord’s new royalty. So, His action of cleansing brings honor to Him and gathers a family for Him, as the Middle Voice represents the subject as acting upon Himself or concerning Himself.
The phrase “to wash” is NIPTO, which means, “to wash an extremity, e.g. hands or feet.” This is an Infinitive in the Present Tense and Active Voice. With the infinitive, we add “to” to the sentence, e.g. “to wash.”
NIPTO is compared to the word LOUO – λούω (loo’-o), which means, “to wash the whole body,” as we will see in verse 10. So, the understanding is that this is not a whole-body washing representing salvation. It is a partial washing representing Rebound, because of the sin on their souls’ post-salvation. Remember that they were arguing from the arrogance of their Sin Natures who was the greatest. So, they had to Rebound before they could receive His Word. Also remember that this Upper Room Discourse was our Lord’s instructions for the Church Age believer that was still yet future. So, they truly did not understand this object lesson until they received the Spirit and understood what it meant to be filled with the Spirit verses walking in sin. This is not unlike many of the doctrines Jesus taught. Until the Spirit came on Pentecost, they didn’t fully understand as noted by Peter’s objection in verse 8.
Then we have the Accusative of Direct Object in the plural of POUS – πούς (pooce) or PODAS – πόδας, “feet.”
Next is the Genitive, Masculine, Plural of MATHETES – μαθητής (math-ay-tes’), which means, “pupil, student, or disciple.” The Genitive of Possession tells us it was their feet that were washed. They needed to Rebound. Our Lord went from one to the other of the disciples’ feet.
Salvation is not the issue here; rebound is the issue. Why? Because rebound is necessary for the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), rebound is necessary for service.
Christ became our servant at the Cross, so that we could be His slaves in our Spiritual walk. 1 Cor 4:1; Eph 6:6; Phil 1:1; Rev 1:1; cf. Rom 16:18
Then we have, “and to wipe,” which is also an Infinitive in the Present, Active of EKMASSO – ἐκμάσσω (ek-mas’-so), which means, “to knead or to wipe off clean.”
The Infinitive expresses the result, to wipe clean; they would be experientially clean as a result of rebound.
The last phrase we have is TO LENTION HOS EIMI DIAZONNUMI for, “the cloth which to be girded.” This is drawing our attention back to the Priestly Servant’s cloth that was used to wash and dry the disciples’ feet.
The word EIMI – εἰμί (i-mee’), “to be” is in the Imperfect Tense representing that Jesus Christ’s cleansing towel is used over and over again. Every time we sin, the towel comes out to wash us, if we receive it via 1 John 1:9.
At the same time DIAZONNUMI – διαζώννυμι (dee-az-own’-noo-mee), “the cloth” used for washing is in the Perfect Tense representing a completed past action. Therefore, at the cross, our sins have been paid for once and for all time, and you only need to confess each sin once to receive cleansing. You don’t have to confess the same sin over and over again. One confession of each sin invokes the grace of God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9. This also eliminates human works for cleansing. You don’t have to do the work to make up for your sins. The cleansing towel of our Lord has done all the work.
So, we take away from this passage that in order to receive the water of Jesus Christ, (the Word of God), we must wash our feet, (confess our sins / rebound), by receiving the towel of Jesus Christ, (remembering the Cross at Calvary and subsequent resurrection). For the communicators of the Word, the principle is the same. In order to teach the Word of God as a humble priestly servant, we must lead in the confession of sins, by recalling the efficacious work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.