Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Footwashing

Expand Messages
  • RHS
    Re: footwashing It seems to me that a little application of known social customs of the period can help in teasing out the unusual footwashing that Jesus
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Re: footwashing
      It seems to me that a little application of known social customs of the
      period can help in teasing out the unusual footwashing that Jesus
      conducted at the last supper.
      I've dealt with this in my paper 'Footwashing for postmodern
      Christians', Zadok Paper S104 autumn 2000 published by the Zadok
      Institute for Christianity and Society, PO Box 289 Hawthorn, Victoria
      3122 Australia.
      In brief: before entering any house, visitors were required to remove
      their footwear, douse their feet in water, dry them, and sometimes put
      on slippers specially provided. Visitors were usually served in this way
      by the lowest slave of the household, the youngest daughter or the wife
      of the household head.
      If a meal was being provided, then guests must baptise their hands
      before eating.
      If this is the same place the synoptics say Jesus organised, then, there
      being no-one else permitted to share in this meal, there was no-one
      provided to carry out this entry ritual. The guests were required to
      serve themselves or each other.
      Not long before this, according to the synoptics, Jesus gave the
      leader-as-slave model of kingdom leadership. (Mat.20:25?28; Mk.
      10:42544)
      As Jesus and the twelve arrived for this meal, they had to wonder who
      should do the actual footwashing ceremony. Peter, as the
      leader-as-slave, should have done so. He did not. So Jesus led them
      straight in and started to dip his unwashed hands into the meal bowls.
      The whole meal ritual was disrupted.
      Finally, Jesus does the footwashing. But it is too late. The whole point
      of the footwashing ritual has been lost. They've already brought
      out-of-place dust into the room and caused disorder. Why does Jesus
      bother? To make a point to Peter. He did not start with Peter, his
      appointed leader of the twelve. But when he finally comes to Peter, the
      whole point of reinforcing the leader-as-slave model becomes clear. Of
      course Jesus makes other points as well here.
      I think this explanation of the footwashing in John makes a lot more
      sense when set against the customs of the day.
      I also make the point that our physical footwashing of each other makes
      no sense at all today. We need to find rituals that emphasise the shame
      of slave-like service. No nurse or podiatrist feels any shame in washing
      feet!
      Ross Saunders from DownUnder.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.