Is Foot Washing Necessary During Communion?


By: David F. Gray


We never had Footwashing in the church that I came from, but the pastor of the church I now attend stresses that we have Footwashing at least once a year. Is it necessary?


Let us first read the Scriptural record. It is found in John, chapter 13:

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel
wherewith he was girded.” (verses 4, 5.)

“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (verses 12-15.

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (verse 17.)

Jesus let it be known here that washing one another’s feet was not to be terminated with His doing it, but was to continue and be practiced by His followers.

There are certain things that Foot-washing teaches us, which make the practice of this divine institution extremely important to us. First, let us notice that there are three cleansings of which the Bible speaks.

1. There is the cleansing which only Christ can do. (Isaiah 1:18; I John 1:7). This cleansing is symbolized by the emblems of the Lord’s Supper, instituted by our Lord at the same time He instituted Footwashing.

2. There is the cleansing of self. (II Cor. 7:1; James 4:8). This cleansing is always to be practiced when we come to partake of the Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:28, 30), as well as other times.

3. There is the cleansing of one another. (Gal. 6:1, 2; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). This is taught by the Footwashing service (John 13, 14, 15) which Jesus instituted to help us with this cleansing, just as He
instituted the Lord’s Supper to help us with the first two cleansings.

Jesus said in John 13:10, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet.” The thought here is that those who have been washed at the bathhouse do not need to take another full bath after they have walked
home. All they need to do is wash their feet that got soiled in the dust of the pathway. So we that have had the cleansing of God through repentance, baptism in Jesus Name, and the Holy Ghost (I Cor. 6:11), now are walking through this world on our way to our heavenly home, and periodically need our feet washed. We do this both spiritually and literally, just as the Lord’s Supper is taken both spiritually and literally. And by doing so we are kept clean and ready for the Rapture.

Any church which does not practice Footwashing, which symbolizes this cleansing, violates the divine plan, and the saints are proportionately weaker. The Footwashing service itself produces such unity and blessing that once it is put into practice, the church would see the need for it and desire to continue.

Jesus said, concerning Communion and Footwashing, “Happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13:17).

(The original source and/or publisher of the above article is unknown.)

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