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Voice of the Lord

Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other's feet (John 13:14).

Jewish Date


Of the many ceremonies of the Pesach seder (Passover service), an essential one is the netilat yadayim (washing of hands). An Orthodox Jew will cleanse his hands through this ceremonial washing in the traditional basin. This custom is a reminder that we must be cleansed to partake of the food which God has graciously provided. In fact, there are two separate washings at the seder meal—emphasizing, even more, our need for cleansing.

As we look back at the last Pesach of Yeshua, we realize that the Messiah taught many lessons from the traditions of our fathers. When this seder came to the moment of the netilat yadayim, a rather shocking thing happened. Usually a servant would come out with the water basin (the seder participants would not normally be bothered with such a menial task—after all, it is a night to recline at the table in celebration of freedom from slavery). At this point, however, Messiah got up from the table, took the water basin, and began to wash the disciples' hands and feet. Taken aback, some of the disciples insisted that Yeshua stop.

The water basin at the seder conveyed an important lesson to them...and to us! If the Messiah humbled himself to serve others in this way, how much more should we, his disciples, do the same? This is the lesson of netilat yadayim. out ways in which I can serve others, that they may see Messiah in me.


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright © 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.

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