My second born, Olivia, does everything with passion. When she is angry, you know it. When she is happy, you know it. When she feels love, you definitely know it. She doesn’t do anything halfway but gives %150 all the time. Sometimes when I look at Olivia I wonder if Iam looking in the mirror with a younger me staring back. Let’s just say that we are strong feelers in our home.
When I read this passage and see Peter I think of my Olivia, and of myself. From what we know of Peter he was an all in kind of guy. When he decided something, that was it. He acted with gusto.
In chapter 13 the scene is set. Jesus is in a room with his closest followers. They are going to eat. Jesus, their Rabbi, their Lord does the unthinkable, unimaginable. He takes the posture of a servant tying a towel around his waist and getting down on his knees he begins to take the sandals off his disciples dirty, travel worn feet. And he washes them.
I can almost see Peter’s face. I wonder if he had a hard time hiding his feelings like I do. My mother liked to tell me that everything I thought ended up on my face. Peter’s may have read, shock and then disgust and then embarrassment as the reality of what was happening sunk in. How far down the line was Peter? How many feet were washed before the Lord knelt before him? Now it is his turn. Jesus kneels, looks up at Peter in his eyes, begins to undo his sandals.
“Lord do you wash my feet?”
We don’t get the sound track but I can imagine that aghast is what his tone portrayed. You aren’t seriously going to wash my stinky feet Jesus, I don’t even like washing my feet!
Jesus continues with what he is doing making his purpose known, you don’t understand now he says, but soon you will. Here comes Peter again, strong feelings coming in strong words.
“You shall never wash my feet.”
I wonder if Jesus didn’t even skip a beat and continued with what he was doing, or if he leaned back on his knees to look Peter in the eye. I imagine that Jesus matched Peter’s strong feelings with quiet truth.
‘“If I do not wash you, you have no share in me.” Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’”
I love it. No one can accuse Peter of not desiring to be connected to Christ. At the thought of having no part of Jesus his embarrassment and shock dissipate and passion takes their places. Wash me all over! I am yours!
Jesus goes on to tell him, Peter you are already clean. That is why I am washing only your feet, they are the only dirty part.
When I mess up I can feel filthy all the way through my whole body. The shame and the guilt that can come with my mistakes, often the same mistakes I made earlier that week or even day, can overtake me making me feel so dirty. Isn’t it a comfort to realize that in Christ we are already clean, all we have to do is confess our sin and ask for forgiveness and he will cleanse our feet?
I hate dirty floors, they are my serious pet peeve. Walking around and feeling food, crumbs, dust or glitter from the later art project irritates me to no end. When the floors are a mess and my feet dirty, I feel like the whole house is disgusting and beyond repair. But after I sweep and mop? It is like I have a new home. It feels clean again and so do I.
Christ has taken care of our sin problem by dying and taking our place. When we believe in him it says that we are wearing his clothes of righteousness. Have you messed up lately and do you feel dirty through and through? Are you allowing the Savior to enter in and wash your feet by offering you his grace and forgiveness?
What a picture of grace. Jesus is gracious with Peter as he explains what he is doing. He is gracious to have made us clean by his blood. It is his grace that gives us the gift of coming to confess our sins and asking for forgiveness. Grace upon grace upon grace.
At the end of this chapter we see Jesus foretells Peter’s denial. Here grace abounds yet again for Jesus knows our every betrayal, our every sin and yet he loves us, teaches us, washes our feet in forgiveness when we come to him all the same.
- Where do you need to be reminded of God’s grace today?
- Do you need to come for a foot washing? Confess your sin today and ask for forgiveness, it is readily available for those who believe.
- Where is Jesus quietly teaching you about himself and are you listening?
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.