Q. I’m struggling with understanding John 13:1-17 here. I agree with the interpretations that are saying the dirt on the feet of the disciples are a representation of sins, water used by Jesus to wash their feet is the representation of his blood that washes our sins. But I get confused when it comes to verse 14 when He says they must do likewise to one another. If then I’m still proceeding with my interpretation that He was symbolizing washing their sins then its confusing to says in verse 14 that He was instructing them to wash the sins of one another for its only Him who washes sins. Can you please give me your full interpretation of this passage?
A. The fact that verse 14 doesn’t make sense tells you that your interpretation of the previous verses is incorrect. The dirt does not symbolize their sins and the water does not symbolize His blood.
The job of foot washing was typically done by a servant. In John 13:14 He said in effect, “If I, your Lord and Teacher can act like a servant for you, you should be willing to do the same for one another.”
Earlier He had said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).