If you are a new visitor to our site you will find that we are in the midst of a search to understand, find and become more like Jesus. New readers may find it helpful to read or browse the past postings, as there are several instances where current material is build upon prior postings. These postings can be found in the right hand column of the web page, in the box entitled “PAGES”, starting with the topic of “Seeking Jesus”. With that said we will present our current material.
In this section we will look for evidence of Jesus performing the services offered at the Brazen Laver. We will also explore the lessons that we can apply to our own lives that flow from our analysis of this topic.
Jesus Washes the Feet of His Disciples
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean”; So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, 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. I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” (John 13:3-20)
Jesus clearly communicates several key points in washing His disciple’s feet. First of all, He communicates that each disciple should strive for purity in their life and their walk with God. For example, in the above passage Jesus tells Peter, “And you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” This is in obvious reference to Judas who allowed the devil to enter the desire to betray Jesus[i] into his heart. The implication here is that the cleansing of Peter’s feet was necessary because he had walked with Judas, the son of perdition[ii], as a brother in ministry.
A lesson to be learned here is to be careful about who we walk with in ministry. If we walk with evil then how can our feet be clean? In addition, this lesson is symbolic of the transformation that the disciples would soon undertake in being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the washing of their feet prepared them by washing away this worldly life in preparation for entering a life in the spirit.
In addition, Jesus tells Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” This is a direct correlation to the purification at the Laver, where it was also a requirement to enter a deeper relationship with God. Secondly, we should model our life after the life of Jesus. In perfecting our walk with God we should look at the life of Jesus as the model of perfection to which we aspire. Reflecting on our own actions and, in turn, comparing them to His actions results in the ability to see ourselves for what we are. If this is the case in our life then we can be expected to wash the feet of those who walk in ministry with Jesus.
Thirdly, the washing of feet is symbolic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which in turn, is preparation for the ministry of the priesthood. Jesus was preparing His disciples for priesthood at the Last Supper. His instructions were clear that they were to go and wait for the helper, the Holy Spirit. Here is what happened:
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, “You have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4 – 5)
In addition, the following scripture that confirms this prophesy of Jesus:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and was confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs; we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 2:1 – 12)
Look at Jesus to Clearly see Yourself
From this example of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples we can extrapolate the following principle: Only by looking at and focusing on the life of Jesus can we see ourselves accurately. Looking directly into the life and actions of Jesus is like looking into a spiritual mirror that reflects our true image. In other words, we see ourselves as God sees us. Is this not what happened when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples? They watched as Jesus lowered Himself culturally to the status of a slave in washing their feet. The result was that their self-image was changed in the process. They realized that they had to deal with some serious imperfections. They were able to truly see their faults, perhaps for the first time. They saw themselves not with the eyes of the world but rather, with the eyes of God. They, therefore, knew that they would have to change their heart and their behavior to be able to achieve what God wanted in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
As we will learn in the next section, Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” His words and actions reveal the truth that was sent down from the Father in heaven. In this respect, looking at the life of Jesus is like looking into a mirror in perfectly clear light. It enables us to clearly see even our most minor faults. It is in this way that Jesus is our modern day Brazen Laver.
[i] John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,
[ii] John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.