Ordinances – on baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing
Most New Testament churches practice two types of ordinances, baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are things Jesus told us to do, with words like: Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them; …as many of us were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:3); and, Take, eat… drink; Do this in remembrance of Me (I Corinthians 11:23-25; Luke 22:19).
Baptism is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is symbolic of His broken body and His poured out blood. Notice that both ordinances are done to remember something special about the body of Jesus. Believers, then, do these ordinances to identify with Jesus. It’s a personal experience and you can’t get much more personal than imitating His resurrection, eating His body, and drinking His blood – so to speak.
Some denominations practice foot-washing as an ordinance. Granted, Jesus did it and told His disciples, “You also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). However, the foot washing Jesus performed was an example of an act of service, a suggestion of perhaps one of many things a believer “ought” to do. As mentioned in Scripture, both believers and unbelievers did it as a way of remembering to care for and minister to others (Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9; Luke 7:44-46; John 13:15-17; I Timothy 5:10).
If one considers foot washing a church “ordinance,” it is an ordinance that anyone can do as a remembrance to serve others.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, observed by only believers as taught by Scripture, specifically remember Jesus.