From: Paul S. Dixon (dixonps@juno.com)
Date: Sat Feb 07 1998 - 20:08:43 EST


I'm preaching on Jn 13:1-17 tomorrow. I have always found the voices of
LELOUMENOS and NIYASQAI interesting. The former can be taken either as
a middle or passive, but the parallel with NIYASQIA, which is clearly
middle, favors rendering LELOUMENOS a middle as well, especially if the
imagery is that of one taking a physical bath versus a physical washing
of feet. I assume it was not normal to be bathed by somebody else.

My point. It strikes me as rather strange that the physical imagery is
done in the middle voice, while the spiritual truth being taught is
rather passive. The spiritual bath and spiritual footwashing are both
done by another agent, not by the individual himself. Is not the whole
point of the footwashing here to teach that the one who has been made
clean positionally, still comes into defilement with sin, and needs not
to be cleansed of such by another and not by himself?
Perhaps we should not expect a necessary parallel in voices here.

But, if the voice is passive in the spiritual truth, then what or who is
the agent? Certainly Christ and the Holy Spirit are likely candidates
for the bath. For the footwashing, however, the agent could be Christ,
the Holy Spirit, or believers (His DOULOI). I would opt for Christ and
His DOULOI, as explained in verses 12-17.

If we are to wash the feet of one another so that they may be made clean,
does this not suggest something more than just the usual lesson in
humility being demonstrated by the washer? Yes, it seems if my brother
is to be cleansed on a progressive, on-going basis from the daily
defilement with sin, then the means by which God has determined that this
should be done is through my coming to him in love and as a servant. I'm
thinking Matt 18:15, Gal 6:1, etc., speak to such.

Thank you for your patience and consideration.

Dr. Paul S. Dixon, Pastor
Wilsonville, Oregon

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