John 13:6-11

[Jesus] came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “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!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

This little passage is multi-layered. On one level, it is a lesson in humility, which we looked at yesterday. On another level it is about spiritual cleansing. On a third level, it is a lesson in understanding and accepting grace. We will look at the lesson in spiritual cleansing today.

At the Last Supper, Jesus drops to his knees before the apostles and begins to wash their feet. Peter (of course it would be Peter!) protests, saying, “You will never wash my feet!”

Peter's initial resistance to Jesus washing his feet was rooted in shock as Jesus took on a role that none of them would have even considered taking: that of a servant doing the lowliest of tasks. Then, it would have been the impropriety of the act. Peter considered Jesus his Lord and Master. How could he wash Peter’s feet? Peter's reaction is a reflection of how we, too, might struggle to accept acts of humility and service from those we deeply respect or view as superior.

Jesus’ response to Peter is deeply symbolic. When he says, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me," Jesus is speaking about more than just physical cleanliness. He is referring to the spiritual cleansing that is essential for a relationship with him. This moment is not just about the physical act of washing feet but is a representation of the cleansing from sin that Jesus offers. It symbolizes baptism or initial acceptance of Christ.

Peter's eager response, asking not just for his feet but also his hands and head to be washed, shows his deep desire for a full relationship with Jesus. It signifies a moment of realization and surrender, understanding that accepting Jesus' service is crucial for being part of his mission and kingdom.

Jesus, however, clarifies. “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” This further illustrates the concept of spiritual cleanliness. It implies that once we are cleansed, we only need continual cleansing in the form of ongoing repentance and forgiveness to remain in fellowship with him.

Finally, Jesus' remark, "And you are clean, though not every one of you," alludes to Judas Iscariot’s impending betrayal. It highlights the sad reality that not all who are physically close to Jesus are spiritually clean or committed to him.

Are you clean and committed?

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 13:5 John 13:6-11 »
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