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Foot Washing Ordinances

How do you feel about the foot-washing ordinance? Obviously, it is symbolic, but is it an act of obedience to actually perform it or are other acts of service and humility what is required by Jesus' example?

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 ---melissa on 6/4/07
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Yes, foot washing is symbolic as service to your fellow man. Never too good to perform the most distasteful services. However, if any church chooses to perform actual footwashing that is its business. If they are true believers, I personally think it's sweet. However, I wouldn't want to do it.
---catherine on 6/27/07


I don't have a problem literally washing anybody's feet. However, I am not convinced that Jesus commanded us to literally wash the feet of others. See John 13:12, Jesus asks, "Do you understand what I was doing?" He is making a point that He came to serve us; and we ought not see ourselves as better than others. I think this foot washing ritual is symbolic but I also see that it can intimidate others. Are we to scold them or shame them for their intimidation? How loving is that?
---Susan on 6/27/07


I definitely think that Jesus used the foot-washing of his disciples to teach us service and humility. I have participated in actual foot-washing services and it is a very humbling and awesome experience. I think we are acting in the spirit of the biblical example of foot-washing when we serve others with humility.
---maryj9396 on 6/21/07


If you read your Bible you will find that according to Jesus' teaching, footwashing would be equal with communion, at least in importance of following it. I believe (mho) footwashing should preceed each communion as a time to "make things right" with others you feel at odds with. A time to forgive and ask forgiveness, a time to thank and show respect for others, a time for each of us to remind ourselves we are servants to our brothers and sisters in God.
---mikefl on 6/20/07


I think footwashing is also symbolic of our day to day shortcomings that need to be forgiven. Yes, we are forgiven but we still sin and Jesus takes care of that to. And if we wash eachother's feet it can be symbolic of us forgiving eachother of our wrongs towards eachother. It may be that this is one of the reasons that Jesus told us to do it.
---john on 6/11/07




foot washing has nothing to do with one being washed it is obedience by the washer to Jesus to become a servant, in order to be a leader
you must be willing to lay down your pride and serve, not dictate, doing whatever it takes to feed the sheep.
---exzucuh on 6/11/07


Foot Washing is symbolic of a "mini baptsm"

Jesus told Peter that He was already clean but if he did not allow Jesus to clean him of the world that Peter was walking in then "thou hast no part in Me."

Realizing the significance Peter asked to be washed head to toe.

In humility we do this to show service to others and also to show our desire to help others up from sin. Love covers a multitude of sins.
---TS on 6/11/07


It is symbolic and encourages us to perform other acts of service. Nevertheless, in my church this gesture is carried out every year as part of the Lenten practice - the priest will wash the feet of one or more parishioners (who have volunteered in advance to avoid embarrassment). It is a reminder for all and especially to the priests who are our servants in the service of Christ.
---lorra8574 on 6/7/07


I don't like touching anyone's feet (except my children's feet and babies). So it was a humble experience for me to do the foot washing. We are told ahead of time that we will be having a foot-washing service. I take a bath, but I still wear pantyhose, just in case someone else has a problem with another's feet.
---Rebecca_D on 6/7/07


I have heard people say they don't mind having it done to them but will not wash another's feet. This is gross selfishness. But in reality a lot of people have nasty, ugly feet. Have you seen the toenails on some of these feet? The dirt,grime and filth that runs off the feet into the basin used. It is a dirty act but we should still do it because Christ instructed us to do so. By leaving the socks and stockings on now, allows us to not see the true state of some of these horrible feet.
---Robyn on 6/7/07




Robyn. I agree, many don't want to wash each other feet because they feel that the feet might be dirty (etc), even though the early Church followed Jesus' example and wash each other feet literally. Its a shame that most dare not touch another person feet.

Jesus never "felt" disgusting to touch anyone. During this practice shows humanity and Christ-like attitude. Thats why in my Church we do this, along with the Eucharist (Communion), as often as possible.
---Ramon on 6/6/07


The bottom line on this whole subject: Most people in the churches would prefer not to wash anyone's feet/ Why? Their hearts are mostly hard and not right towards God. Neither is their relationship with God. The results: they see themselves above washing anyone's stinky feet(this is how they feel) A lot of pride, ungodlines and just plain ugliness in some people who refuses to wash anothers feet. You learn the true state of another hearts when this is carried out. Including the pastor. More:::::
---Robyn on 6/6/07


More: We also learn a lot about ourselves when we wash or refuse to wash our brethren feet. Jesus was very wise. This is the reason we should do it! To teach us to humble ourselves. God knows we need this so much. Too much hatred, selfishness and unconcern in the churches of today. I would like to see my church begin this practice.
---Robyn on 6/6/07


More: When it is done here in Texas. Women do the women. Men wash the men feet. It is such a loving and wonderful experience. Men keep their socks on, women their stocking feet. To have this done will blow you away and also to do for another is..I can only describe it as...heavenly. We are missing out on God's best for us, in the churches, by not carrying out this angelic and heavenly act towards one another. If we did more of this, I think there would be more love in the church. Just dreaming.
---Robyn on 6/6/07


It isn't done enough. Many churches have not done this and won't do this. Foot washing is showing the other person that we are no better than they are and vice versa. Christ gave us an example that the servant shouldn't be above his master. This is done at my church. The woman would wash the woman's feet and men wash the men's feet.
---Rebecca_D on 6/5/07


When I was married, I considered it an act of love towards my spouse (who didn't bother doing it for me even once); it's a very loving thing to do when someone's been on their feet all day or are tired.
---Mary on 6/5/07


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No>> It is not necessary to wash someone's feet. We can wash someone's feet by showing humility. Perhaps doing a service that is not pleasant. That was an example Jesus gave us.
---catherine on 6/5/07


I feel it should be practiced more. It is a way to express love and to show humility. We need more humility in our leaders and the entire congregation. I feel it is a choice not an ordinance we should practice. If we so choose to do this, it would edify the church in a wonderful way. I grew up with footwashing. Some churches practice it here in Texas.
---Robyn on 6/5/07


Jesus said that the greatest among you is the servent of all. He himself came to serve. He also said that the first will be last and the last will be first in the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm not sure its a matter of simple obedience. When Christlike, one has developed the heart of a servant. The one of great education found volunteering in a nursing home changing dirty diapers and empting bedpans has the heart of Jesus. This is only an example. The Holy Spirit will lead towards acts of servitude.
---jody on 6/5/07


I dont think footwashing is symbolic, and ordinance and a command or law to do so..It is an act of humility with one another..one has a choice, to do it or not..same as the communion..Christ said do it as often as you want in rememberance of me..a choice one has to make also..to do or not to do..I lovingly do both because I love my Lord and my fellow humans around me..and I wanted to show humility to others..
---jana on 6/5/07


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melissa, The early Church appears to have followed Jesus' example and literally obeyed His admonition to humbly wash one another's feet in Love. For example, in 1 Tim 5:10, Paul states that widows should not be cared for by the Church if they failed to qualify according to certain standards. One of those qualifications was having "washed the saint's feet."

We also know that the Early Church did this as ordinance of the Church;something that is part of the liturgical service.
---Ramon on 6/4/07


melissa.#2 The Early Church believe that Jesus' words was meant to be taken literally. We should observe this act as an ordinance of the Church or a Sacrament of the Church. Many Churches, including the Pentecostal Church, still followed this ordinance.

I do agree though that Jesus words is also symbolic in a way. We called and commanded to love one another as Jesus did (John 13:35). We need to care for others. Godly obedience is required! Jesus told us to be like Him. God Bless!
---Ramon on 6/4/07


John is right in his response. It should not be done for legalistic reasons. On the other hand, it is an humbling ordinance. We certainly can benefit from more humility, today.
---Jason on 6/4/07


I remember as a boy in my Uncles church the women would wash the mens feet, then each others feet when ever there was conflict in church, this was supposed to 'bring peace' to the group, showing 'spiritual submission.' During this ceremony the women would bawl, hug everyone, confess their sins, then bawl some more. I found it all rather freudian, and the women to be for more in line with Dionysian Maenads than anything Christian.
---MikeM on 6/4/07


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In all of the pre-reformation churches, foot-washing is something of a liturgical drama done on the Thursday before Pascha (Easter).
---Jack on 6/4/07


To wash one anothers feet is an instruction from Jesus. It is correct to understand that it is symbolic but nevertheless Jesus said "if I have washed your feet, you aught to wash eachothers feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done unto you." The Lord's supper is symbolic too and we have no problem doing it. Could it be we don't do foot washing because we don't feel like it?
---john on 6/4/07


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