Feet are not the best feature of humans. I heard a comedian say that it is a good thing our feet aren’t the first thing that people see. We can groom and clean them, and we can decorate them with polish and jewelry, but they are still the first things on the body to get gross. They either sweat and accumulate fuzz in shoes and/or socks, or pick up dirt and whatever else we are trodding through if they are exposed to the elements, and they are prone to being quite odiferous (pew!). Not only do feet possess all of these fine features, but for most of us, they simply are not attractive.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am grateful for my feet every day, and I do not have the best specimens. They have been surgically redesigned, have interloping things that cause pain, and are suck-to-the-floor flat, so my knees and back have to deal with the consequences of this structural challenge. But praise the Lord! They get me where I need to go, support me when I stand, and on the rare instance I am forced to move quickly, they even allow a short (very short) run.
Still, we don’t hear love poems and songs written about the attraction of people’s feet. But enter exhibit A into evidence regarding the benefits of feet: the Bible – God’s inspired Word. Here we see feet treated a bit differently. Psalm 18:33, 2 Samuel 22:34, and Habakkuk 3:19 all speak to the fact that a relationship with our Heavenly Father makes our feet sure-footed like those of a deer, enabling us to stand on heights. He gives our spiritual feet direction, and traction, that lift us up!
Need more Biblical affirmation for the virtues of feet: Isaiah 52:7 says “How BEAUTIFUL on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Paul repeats this phrase in his letter to the Romans (10:15). Now to be clear, these feet are only beautiful with conditions, but beautiful they are when we tell the Good News of Jesus and the freedom and power that we have through Him!
A woman named Mary, the sister of Lazarus who was raised from the dead, recognizes just who Jesus is – THE Messiah. She bows at His feet, and she doesn’t stop there. Her Savior’s feet deserve more than worship. Those feet deserved her all. She gave her present and her future to her Lord. She anointed His feet with her dowry – an expensive perfume that could have earned her a stable future with a husband. In pouring this offering on His precious feet and wiping them with her hair, she illustrated her love for, trust in, and submission to Jesus (John 11: 2,12:3).
Then Jesus lent more credence to this notion that feet were important, particularly in His Kingdom. He knelt before each of His disciples and washed their feet. Their icky, gross feet that walked on heaven-knows-what for heaven-knows-how-long. He got on His holy knees, knelt in front of each man, took their feet in His hands, and washed. And He didn’t skip Judas. He even washed the feet of the one who would betray Him.
It was Peter’s turn. As Jesus knelt, Peter argued that his Lord should not wash His feet. Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:8-9) But simply cleaning the feet made one clean and presentable to the host of the home.
When He finished, He said to them, “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 should serve and love others in Jesus’s same humble manner.
The ultimate service that Jesus did for us was to take the punishment for our sins by having nails driven into His feet at His crucifixion. “He was pierced for our sins.” (Isaiah 53:5) His perfect feet redeemed our imperfect ones, so that we would not have to stand condemned before The Father. And Hallelujah! Those feet did not stay in the grave! Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to see the risen King Jesus. They fell at those marvelous feet, clasping and kissing them in worship, joy, awe, and wonder. (Matthew 28:9)
The fact that Jesus appeared to and walked among 500+ people following His resurrection, proves His claim that He has the power to conquer death. What a beautiful thought that one day, our metaphoric feet – the WORST parts of us – are washed by the blood of the Lamb. We are cleansed for presentation to The Host of heaven, so we can walk across heaven’s threshold where our happy feet will dance!