A few days before Pentecost, Christ washed His disciples’ feet. Pentecost celebrated bringing in the harvest. Christ modeled how the apostles were to bring others into the kingdom of God through forgiveness.
Christ told Peter, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.(1) His disciples knew what He was speaking of.
In front of the temple mount in Jerusalem are excavated ritual baths. The entrance stairs to one such bath is pictured above. All worshippers in Christ’s time would have used these baths before entering the Temple. They had to be as ritually pure as possible before God.
After the bath, the worshippers walked up the bedrock Temple entrance steps. On that short walk, their feet would become somewhat dirty again.
This Pentecost celebration Jesus would not make it to the temple with his disciples. He was crucified within twenty-four hours of this supper. By washing their feet now, Jesus was truly purifying them for the day they would enter God’s heavenly kingdom to eat with Him again.
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15-16
In scripture dirt often typifies sin.(2) Earlier in His ministry, the Pharisee Simon invited Jesus to a dinner. A sinful woman heard Jesus was there. She came to the dinner, washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, kissed his feet, dried them with her hair and perfumed them. Simon questioned Jesus and Jesus replied:
“Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:44-50
In exchange for her display of faith, Christ forgave her. He cleansed her of her sins. Forgiveness cleanses. Forgiveness allows us to enter eternal life truly pure.
Jesus used the Pentecost festival that celebrates bringing in the wheat harvest to teach the apostles they are to bring souls into God’s kingdom. He taught them that forgiveness brings souls into the kingdom.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15
We need to cleanse others, forgive them their sins. Christ wants us to harvest souls. We need to remember what Christ said at Simon’s dinner. “Whoever has been forgiven little loves little… Your sins are forgiven. …Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The apostles brought thousands into the Kingdom after they received the Holy Spirit. We need to humbly do also for millions and billions, one by one or in groups as the Spirit guides us. You and I can do this with the power of the Holy Spirit inside us.
Forgiveness is essential to eternal life. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Believe in Christ and harvest today’s crop as Christ prepared His disciples to do in their day.
Jesus told His disciples: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:35-38
Image. Personal photo of excavated ritual bath in front of the Hulda gates in the south wall of the temple mount in Jerusalem.
(1) John 13:10 All scripture references are from NIV (R)
(2) Isaiah 64:6
In that Christians have vast differences in what they claim will get one saved and what their god wants, how is anyone to know which of you has the “right” version? I grew up Presbyterian, and I got to see a lot of anti-Catholic hatred and this hatred from sect to sect is nothing unusual. In that no self-claimed Christian can do what is promised to them in the bible, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to believe any of you.
Hi Club,You’re correct about the differences but what all of us ask is for everyone to believe Christ and believe in Christ. I’m sure there are some Christians you would admire for reflecting Christ in their life. Sanctification is a life long process. Christians are asking you to believe in Christ. That’s a big, challenging step. A lot of people are afraid of that step. it means life change. It also means joy that you have to experience to believe. If you have the courage, read scripture daily with an open mind and heart, and ask God to reveal Himself to you.
No, phil, you don’t all ask for everyone to believe Christ and believe in Christ. Since there are so many sects, each of you are asking people to believe you and believe what each of you want Christ to have said (I mentioned that I watched this in real time with protestants and catholics). In that Christians don’t agree, we have no idea what to believe from Christ or from you. This is what I think upsets some Christians, they don’t like finding out that *they* aren’t needed or obeyed; it isn’t about their god at all.
There are some Christians who, despite worshipping a genocidal god and a murderous savior (see the OT and Revelation) are good people. They follow the few good things in the bible, and those things were around long before Judaism or Christianity ever existed. My parents are some of those Christians.
Your claim that accepting JC is a “life change” seems to be a thinly veiled version of the common Christian claim that non-christians don’t want to obey their god; that they are “rebels”. The problem with that is, again, Christians can’t agree on what their god wants people to do. Christians disagree on who to hate and why. They can’t agree on what it means to be a Christian. Can you explain why Christians can’t do what baptized believer in Christ as savior are supposed to be able to do per your bible?
So, you say that if I read scripture daily with an open mind and heart and ask this god to reveal himself to me, I will get joy. I’ve done that, (and have been a Christian and strived to retain that belief by praying) and I’ve gotten nothing. What has happened with your formula? Why didn’t it work for me? And I don’t do anything that the bible calls a “sin” other than not believe in a god that has no evidence for it. It wouldn’t be much of a change for me.
Now, the common response will be that I didn’t do it “right” or that I wasn’t “really” open. That depends on a lie on the Christians part to excuse their failure.
First of all, I think you are closer to God than you realize. One of my goals in life is to help heal the breaches that you mention so that the unity of the church will draw people to Christ.
By saying Christians aren’t doing what the bible tells them to do, you must have read it and have an idea what it is telling them to do. And I trust you admire what it tells them to do or you wouldn’t criticize them for not doing it.
I’d encourage you to step up and do or continue doing what the bible says to do if you admire what it says to do, and give God/Christ credit for leading you on that path. Then I believe you will find what you are missing.
Before I retired, I ran a successful financial business for many years with twenty employees. Occasionally I had to interview new applicants for employment. No one I interviewed ever started out by saying, “Before you bless me with a job and paycheck, I want you to know I don’t think you are the boss. Secondly, if you are boss, none of your employees are doing what I think you are telling them to do. Thirdly, I think you are murderous and genocidal. When do I start and when do I get my first paycheck?” I don’t think I would bless that applicant with a job until they changed their attitude and opinions.
God does cause “his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Yet, it makes sense that those who respect Him are more likely to receive His blessings.
You claim you see a lot of Christians are good. They attribute their goodness to Christ. But you say they are wrong attributing their goodness to Christ. Why do you doubt their truthfulness? Can they all be wrong? Can Christ not be the true source of the goodness/righteousness for even one of them?
If you’re approaching reading scripture with the idea that Christ is “a genocidal God and murderous savior,” your approach is already biased. I suggest you open the bible and honestly say to God, “God, please show me why I shouldn’t believe that you are a genocidal God and murderous savior. I’ll keep an open mind.” And then really do keep an open mind and seek Him daily.
As for your own striving, what is it that you are looking for? What makes you think the formula did not work for you? I have a good hunch you’re kind and willing to put yourself out for people. If so, what do you attribute your kindness to? I think you are closer to Christ than you believe.
Love is a bond. Curb your accusations and ask God to tell you about love. Joy comes from the bond to the one we love; and God truly is love. If you want joy but are holding back your commitment to love Him because you don’t see others loving Him, you are holding back your own joy from Him. Don’t let others keep you from Christ. The joy of love only comes with the bond. Grab it. Grab Him. Don’t be afraid to give God a piece of your mind. He can take it. You won’t be the first. But be very respectful. He is God.
Thanks for the reply.
PS. May I suggest also reading “Treatise on The Love of God” by St. Francis de Sales. Amazon has it. Great book.