Thursday, March 31, 2011

Communion: Foot Washing + The Lord's Supper

Last Sabbath, we had Communion at our church.  Communion in the Seventh-day Adventist church is a two-fold event (as it was biblically), and this is how we hold Communion.  First, comes the foot washing, and second comes the Lord's Supper (grape juice and bread).

With dusty feet they arrived at the upper room for the Passover.  Someone had provided a pitcher of water, a basin, and a towel for the customary footwashing, but no one wanted to perform the menial task.  This was due to the jealousy amongst the disciples against one another for they were still contending as to who should be considered the greatest in His Kingdom (Luke 22:24, Matthew 18:1, 20:21).

"During supper" (John 13:2, 4) Jesus quietly arose, took the servant's towel, poured water into the basin, knelt down, and began to wash the disciples' feet.  The Master had become the servant.  Understanding the unspoken rebuke, the disciples were filled with shame.  When He had completed His work and returned to His place, He said, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."  (John 13:14-17)

The ordinance of foot washing and the Lord's supper make up the Communion service.  By humbling ourselves and washing each other's feet, we are following Christ's example and coming into the right spirit for Communion.
The foot washing does more than clean feet, it represents a higher purification - a cleansing of the heart.  Like the disciples, when we have accepted Christ and been baptized we have been cleansed by His Blood.  But as we walk the Christian life, we fail.  Our feet become dusty.  We must come to Christ again and let His cleansing grace wash away the defilement.  Foot washing as an ordinance reminds us of our need for regular cleansing and that we are totally dependent upon the blood of Christ.  Foot washing itself cannot cleanse from sin.  Only Christ can purify us.  Foot washing and the Lord's Supper were not done away with when Christ died, as the Bible clearly states.  This combined with the Lord's supper that takes place immediately following in the sanctuary at church is how Christ would have us hold Communion, just as He did.

*Seventh-day Adventists Believe...A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, Published by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1988, Hagerstown, MD*

No comments:

Post a Comment