INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST AND THE WASHING OF THE FEET
THE LORD’s SUPPER – MATTHEW 26:26-29
26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said,
“TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY.”
27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying,
“DRINK OF IT, ALL OF YOU, 28FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE COVENANT, WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
THE WASHING OF THE FEET – JOHN 13:3-17
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper.
He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
11For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
15For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
ABOUT THE LORD’s SUPPER
In his last earthly celebration of the Passover, Jesus wanted to express the greatness of his love for his disciples, and all who loved and followed Him (Luke 22:15; John 13:1), so He performed a variant of the normal Passover ritual, and instituted the celebration of the Eucharist or Last Supper, as a permanent memorial of his coming death and atoning offering for us.
Jesus had not died yet, but He took the bread and the wine to represent his own body and blood being given in ramson for humanity.
This is the most sacred of the Ordinances of our Lord, because it represents the mystery of his whole life, resumed and consummated in the greatest act of love ever seen in the universe. The voluntary giving of an innocent man’s life for the salvation of all the guilty humanity, without having to do it. But He did it, because He loved us to the end.
Every time we take of those consecrated elements, we make ourselves recipients of his sacrifice, spiritually. We unite ourselves to the body and blood of Lord Jesus (Matthew 26:26, 28), represented in the bread and wine, spiritually and not only through the elements, but through the whole ceremony, and bring sanctification for us. Sanctification that benefits us according to the faith, and love we pour into the celebration.
For this reason, Apostle Paul warns us to celebrate this sacred memorial with reverence and repentance, not laughing, or thinking about something else or living in open sinfulness, or disrespecting the elements in any way, because we would be disrespecting the sacrifice that our Lord endured for our own salvation (1Corinthians 11:27-28), which will turn blessings into condemnation.
Jesus is with us every time two or more and meeting in his Name (Matthew 18:20), but He is specially among us when we celebrate his Last Supper, the apex of his earthly life among us.
THE WASHING OF THE FEET
Lord Jesus also left another ceremony, the washing of other’s feet as a sign and exercise of humility.
Little is spoken of this sacrament, but it is an ordinance established by our Lord, the same as Baptism and the Eucharist (John 13:14-15). It has a form, elements and commission to be performed, and it was given in order to educate us in breaking our pride and stubbornness, by making us to wash each other’s feet, a slave’s duty in his time.
Like any other sacrament, with the exception of Baptism that is celebrated once in a life time, the practice of this command bring us sanctification, through obedience, and humbleness, and the exercising of humility in practice, for the love of God, until our selves grow in similitude to Jesus, our Lord, who settled the example.
Our Lord performed these ceremonies, during his last Passover, the night before his arrest.