The Footwashing equates to Eternal Life?
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (John 3:16, Coulter Bible).
...oh, you're still here? I have experienced a number of people actually offended by the use of that scripture because of its perceived over-use within mainstream Christianity. Watch most any football game, NASCAR race, or any other major sports event on TV, and you are likely to see a "John 3:16" banner held by a fan within the stands. It is perhaps, the most used bible verse or most quoted bible verse, definitely the most publically displayed.
Does the frequency of its use, or of its public display, diminish its value and importance? Have you and I become jaded by that verse and so it’s lost its power with us?
In that one verse, do we recognize the power ("God so loved", "He gave", "His only begotten Son"), the hope ("everyone who believes in Him"), the promise ("not perish"), and the reward ("everlasting life")? It reveals the entire plan of God ... the begotten Son given as a sacrifice, after living a perfect human life, to pay a penalty of death to account for every sin committed by every human so that ultimately, every human has an opportunity to choose not to perish, but have eternal life. Wow! Incredible!
If we were to choose just one single verse to give us reason to live a life committed to following His example ("believes in Him"}, to keeping His commandments, His Holydays, His Passover, and receiving His promised reward, I would offer the opening verse: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (John 3:16, Coulter Bible).
If I were to ask to name one verse within the entirety of the bible that addresses the plan of God, I am sure a number of suggestions would be named. But is there a single verse that can succinctly define the plan any better than John 3:16? Let's take a look at two more:
1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” NKJV
Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” NKJV
Two more WOW verses that offer such hope from the death penalty that we have earned...but with, perhaps, not the distinct promise of eternal life we see stated in John 3:16.
Suffice it to say that those reading this are dedicated to a lifestyle that would lead toward the reward, "everlasting life", commonly referred to as "eternal life". In approximately five weeks, those dedicated will partake in THE MOST IMPORTANT OBSERVANCE of the entire year...every year...the Christian Passover. Observing the true Passover is not only commanded by Jesus Christ (Yeshua), but its participation is fundamental to salvation and eternal life.
John 14:6 "...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." NKJV
John 6:53-54 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. NKJV
Partakers of the Passover observance realize that the taking in of unleavened bread and a sip of wine are symbols of the New Covenant administered on the night of His (Yeshua's) last Passover. However, previous to the bread and wine, an event took place that is another important symbol to participate in during the Passover observance.
Click on “Continue Reading” to discover what else happened on that eventful Passover night and conclusions we might draw from all of this.
John 13:3-15 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 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. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" 7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." 8 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." 9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."
12 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? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. NKJV
Some may ask if the foot washing is really a necessary part of the Passover observance. I would say absolutely it is a necessary part of the Passover observance. But my words don't carry much weight so let's allow scripture to answer that question:
Matt 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. NKJV
The great detail described in the verses above, show the importance of the footwashing ordinance. Merely partaking of the bread and wine does not satisfy the full Passover observance. Everyone who seeks eternal/everlasting life needs to recognize the importance of the footwashing or they will have no part with Him. True followers of Jesus (Yeshua) will fulfill the entirety of the Christian Passover, exactly as He commanded, including the footwashing example.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. NKJV
Partaking in the footwashing is vitally important because it demonstrates our willingness to not only follow the example above, but to display it to our brethren.
1 John 4:11 "Beloved, if God so loved us, we are duty-bound to love one another." Coulter Bible
In my many years of observing the Christian Passover, I find that most in attendance come in a somber, quiet way, almost like it is dirge. To that, I understand the seriousness of the purpose for the observance, but for me personally, I attend full of joy knowing that what I am observing and will be partaking in is extremely rare among humanity. At this present time, so few of the world's 7.5 billion people know of the Christian Passover, much less keep it. I endear sharing this experience with others knowing that these few people are fulfilling the instruction and example set by Jesus Christ.
Our local Passover observance is shared among about 20 people each year. The location and time is set well in advance and those attending know to be there early as the doors will be locked come sundown. One year, we were expecting a guest, a friend of one of the locals. This guest had to travel a good distance, normally a 4 hour drive. As life would have it, the guest got delayed and through telephone communication, stated a late arrival of about 15 minutes. (Should they have left earlier to avoid the possibility of being late? Uh, yes.) The minister present, performing the Passover service, stated that once the doors were locked, no admittance would be granted. I personally found this to be overly harsh. I sat there distracted mentally, concerned for that guest and what option was to be available outside locked doors. And what kind of example of "if you have love for one another" was being displayed? Were we not all "duty-bound to love one another" on that night? Could we not have delayed the start of the Passover? Could we not have read more scriptures allowing a little additional time to pass to allow the guest to be part of the service?
I know, I get it. There are pros and cons to those questions as those reading this will have an opinion each way. But all that said, what was the proper thing to do? Had I to do over again, I believe I would have been more vocal (I was vocal in sharing my opinion), disagreeing with the decision made...erring on the side of following Jesus' direct commandment..." A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
The decision made that night took away some of my joy in keeping the Christian Passover as I felt I had not stood up to defend the position of an out-of-town guest, who drove countless hours and faced unknown obstacles, to be part of the small group gathered to observe the Passover, show love of another through the footwashing portion, and partake in the bread and wine to confirm a commitment to a relationship with their Savior.
So, what to do? What to do is recognize that in approximately five weeks, a very small percentage of this Earth's population will gather together, perhaps some alone, to partake in the observation of the Christian Passover. Recognize the purpose, be somber in knowing that. But rejoice in being one of so very few to observe and partake in the symbols orchestrated by the One that makes it all possible. Rejoice with those in attendance with handshakes and hugs. Exercise the love that we are to display and share, remembering this:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (Coulter Bible).
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Comment from P Shields: Phinehas, a great pen name, has been a long-time believer in Christ and has observed the 7th-day Sabbath all of his life. He’s a married man with children and serves the brethren in a number of ways. I look forward to more blogs from Phinehas. Any comments?