Wednesday, May 16, 2012

John 13:6-11

Today we’ll see Peter being “classic” Peter! I find him one of the most encouraging people in the Bible, because I so identify with his passion coupled with impulsivity! Those of us who are passionate people often speak without putting our brains in gear, so we end up jumping in and out of trouble! Can anyone else relate?? In today’s passage, Jesus begins washing the feet of the disciples.

These men walked in sandals in very dirty places. So, it’s safe to say that they had filthy feet. Jon Courson points out that Jesus could have given them a sermon on the need for good personal hygiene, or he could have commended them to clean their feet. Instead, motivated by great love for His disciples, He got down on His hands and knees and did the job Himself. Courson writes, “If you are not willing to wash feet, then keep your mouth closed when you see dirt. When I see dirt, I can either talk about the dirt, which then is called judgment - or I can involve myself in that person’s life by tending to the situation on my knees in humility through intercession.” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 553)

Now, let’s look at how Peter responds:

He 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!” (John 13:6-9)

Peter’s first reaction probably came from pride. He was embarrassed that Jesus was down at his stinky feet, and I’m guessing he wanted to hide his feet from Jesus. You know how you feel when you go into a nail salon for a pedicure after many months of feet neglect? And you are sure those ladies who are working over your feet are talking about your nasty feet? Peter was ashamed of his filthiness! He insisted that Jesus would NEVER wash His feet. Until Jesus points out that, unless Peter surrenders to foot washing, he will have not be one of Jesus’ own. Then Peter is ready to jump into the bathtub!

So many feel unworthy to come to Jesus for cleansing! We feel like we need to get our act together before we could ever be good enough to be called His own. But Jesus KNEW how filthy Peter was - and not just his feet! He knows how much dirt we carry around. But He came to cleanse us. That requires humility on our part. Satan knows just how to keep us away from Christ by accusing us of being filthy. He loves to bring up all of our dirt. But Jesus wants to remove all of that baggage from our past. It’s why He died! So, we need to let Him wash our feet and rejoice in the cleansing!

Jesus makes the point to the impulsive Peter that, once you have been cleansed by His blood, you don’t need to be completely cleansed over and over - just wash the dirt from the world off your feet daily:

Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his 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. (vs. 10-11)

Even though we have been saved and cleansed by Jesus, our feet still pick up dirt from our involvement with the world every day! We don’t need to hide in shame when we fail. Jesus knows we will fail Him before we do! He waits each day for us to come to Him in humility to receive what we need. When we shy away from Him because Satan has told us we are unworthy (well, duh, of course we are), we miss out on that wonderful refreshing and renewal. Jesus chose people like Peter and like you and me. Passionate people who do, say, and think rash things!

The next time you go in for that pedicure, think of this passage and of Jesus who has cleansed ALL of you! Then thank God for that sweet woman before you who is cleaning the dirt off of your feet and pray that God would bless her - even if she is making fun of you in another language!  

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