Washed by Love
Some Christian denominations include sects that take Jesus’ instruction in John 13.14-15 (Amp) literally; they wash one another’s feet as a practice of worship. Is that what Jesus meant? And, how is washing someone’s feet an illustration of Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another, as He had loved the disciples; John 13.34-35?
What “love” is Jesus presenting? The Greek words philein, and agapan are two of four that parse our word “love” to give greater understanding. Phileinlove is about personal affection and regard someone has for another person. Agapan love enhances this affection and regard to a higher degree of commitment.
Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21.16-17 illustrates the contrast.
The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench:, “_Agapan_ has more of judgment and deliberate choice; _philein_ has more of attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus the ‘Lovest thou’ (Gr. agapas) on the lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do. Therefore he puts by the word and substitutes his own stronger ‘I love’ (Gr. philo) in its room. (Easton’s; “love”)
Peter seems to be expressing his desire for the warm, personal relationship with Jesus that he enjoyed before denying Him. However, Jesus seems already past that stage and is desiring Peter’s commitment to the evangelistic task ahead. On the third try, Shepherd Jesus gently agrees with Peter as a place for beginning to grow the desired commitment that would fulfill Jeremiah 23.4.
Only in one other exchange does Jesus use phileowith His disciples. In John 15.15, He elevates them from servants to friends, distinguishing between the two as revealing what He has heard from Father God. Servants don’t need to know what their masters are thinking. But, friends deserve to understand out thinking and rationale.
Understanding the connection of washing feet and love comes from connecting John 13.8 (“’Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.’”) to John 13.34 (“‘Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.’”). The act of washing someone’s feet is like restoring an errant follower of Christ to righteous living (James 5.19-20). Paul expresses the same encouragement in Hebrews 3.12-19.
This is the great need of your day. satan’s devices for stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10.10a) are subtle and clever, like a serpent trapping its prey. Jesus’ disciples faced similar deceptions from the Pharisees and traditions of their day (Mark 7.13).
But, Jesus “kept” His disciples from such harmful philosophies by teaching them what God was telling Him (John 15.15; John 12.49; John 5.19-20; John 1.18). Thus, in His Lord’s Prayer in John 17.6& 11-12, Jesus states that He “‘was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me’”. This is John’s “love” in 2 John 6.
This is the degree of commitment (agapan love) that Jesus requires from us. We are to warn fellow believers by washing satan’s filth which becomes attached through our living in a fallen world; Hebrews 2.1.
Amp. Amplified Bible (2015 Edition). www.olivetree.com.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary. www.olivetree.com.
Washed by Love 190203
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019 . www.sozoclass.com.