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Washed By The Word: Breaking Free From Filth Through Jesus

A picture of water with the words Washed By The Word.

John 13:1-17, 15:20-27, 16:8-11

During the 2024 Superbowl, a group called HeGetsUs ran a 1 min ad. In this ad, they played INXS song Never Tear Us Apart. The ad showed over ten images of people washing someone else's feet. Each image had a unique location and somewhat controversial juxtaposition of individuals—for instance, a rebellious teen washing his father's feet. A daughter was washing her drug-addict mother's feet. A police officer is washing a possible criminal's feet. One protestor washing another's feet. A mother is washing her daughter's feet at a Planned Parenting Clinic. A priest washing a homosexual man's feet. And the ad ends with "Jesus Gets Us." 

The HeGetsUs group finishes the ad by directing watchers to their website. There, you'll find more about this group. They said on their website, "Jesus was using foot washing to emphasize a larger point–a symbol for all his followers to see how they should treat one another." My first question is, Are you suggesting that a drug addict, homosexual, abortionist, or criminal is a FOLLOWER of Jesus? There is a difference between a believer and a follower. If a person is living a lifestyle of sin, they are no FOLLOWER of the Holy One, Jesus Christ. 

The group goes on to say, "We began to imagine a world where ideological others were willing to set their differences aside and wash one another's feet. How would that look? How would our contentious world change if we washed one another's feet, not literally, but figuratively? Figurative foot washing can be as simple as giving a compliment to a co-worker or paying for a stranger's lunch. It can also be as difficult as not responding to someone who's criticizing you or reaching out to an estranged family member. Acts of kindness done out of humility and respect for another person could be considered the equivalent of foot washing." 

Based on the Bible, my honest response is that HeGetsUs gets it all wrong.

First, their goal seems to be to bring peace and unity to the world through morality. We have already failed in morality, condemned to Hell because we have come short. Morality will not change what we are. Only Jesus will. 

Second, Jesus did not come to bring peace to the world, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt 10:34-39). Jesus brought a "sword" to separate the holy from the unholy. 

Third, Jesus used foot washing to teach His followers a valuable truth about sin, sinners, and God's servants. 

Concerning Sin: A Person's Feet Were Dirty From Traveling 

In ancient times, feet were exposed to the elements. Sandals were the common footwear. Therefore, after a long trip, travelers' feet usually needed a good washing because they were filthy. The homeowner would have servants come and wash a traveler's feet.  

Spiritually, as we travel in this sinful world, our lives become covered with sin: something heard, seen, said, done, or felt. These actions leave spiritual filth on our souls that must be washed away.

Concerning God's Servants: A Person's Feet Were Washed By The Servants 

As mentioned, a home servant would wash the traveler's feet. This service removed the filth from their feet. Could you imagine having your feet washed and the servant leaving the grim and dirt on there? 

Let's apply this same thinking to the images mentioned earlier in the ad. A more accurate portrayal of Jesus' foot washing lesson would have been the priest offering the homosexual man new clothing and introducing him to a heterosexual lifestyle. Or in the case of the daughter with the drug addict mother. A better picture would have been the daughter throwing the bottles and needles away while teaching her mother about Jesus from the Bible. 

Jesus washed the feet of the disciples to show them that He had humbled Himself, God becoming man, to wash them clean of their sin! Not to accept their sin, lie to them, and leave them to die and suffer in Hell. 

Jesus became our servant to deliver us, not to accept us! He ultimately went to the cross to wash away our sinful filth by paying our sin debt, becoming our Savior, changing our hearts, and placing the Holy Ghost inside of us to help us.  

With this in mind, we should help others by humbly washing away their filth with the word of God, which is our rule of judgment (John 12:48, "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."). Tell others what the word of God has said about sin! 

Jesus commands His followers to do as He has done, "Wash one another's feet" (13:14). This refers to disciples washing disciples' feet, not disciples washing the feet of the reprobates of the world. 

So, what is the true meaning of foot washing? In humility, born-again believers should take the word of God and help cleanse the sinful filth from the lives of others. 

The lost need this cleansing, too, but they first need Jesus, and that only happens when they are ready to repent from sin and receive Jesus Christ by faith. 

Concerning Sinners: A Person's Feet Are Clean After The Washing 

Once the weary traveler sat down and the servant finished washing his feet, the traveler's feet were clean. They were clean! When the word of God and Jesus Christ enters a person's life, a change occurs. They are spiritually clean, and the filth on their soul has been washed away. - Jesus told Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me" (13:8).  

Don't believe the lie of the age that God is inconsistent with His character, that He is all feel-good, that no sin is condemned, that no life is judged and that God has forgotten how much He hates sin. Satan laughs at those who believe this lie because this broad way of thinking leads to destruction. My friends, come out from among them and be separate, saith the Lord. 

A true believer in Jesus Christ will love what God loves and hate what God hates. If God is willing to condemn even a liar to an eternal Hell, when most people lie daily, we ought to realize the severity of sin and flee from this untoward generation. 

Come to Jesus as you are, but leave as God commands! 

Jesus Saves Us. Redeems Us. And Changes Us. Anything Else Is Not of God.