Daily Archives: September 20, 2021

WASHED BY THE WORD

WASHED BY THE WORD

“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!’

“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 is why He said not everyone was clean.” John 13:6-11 NIV.

Why are we going over this passage again? There is much gold to be mined from this incident and I am in no hurry to move on without digging a little deeper.

Yesterday, we explored the thought that humble submission to the Master’s service is the heart of unity with Him. Unless we are one with Him, we cannot recognize Him in a disturbing disguise in the least of people and serve them in the disposition of our Messiah.

Peter displayed the typical attitude that resisted what Jesus wanted to do for Him. He thought he was being humble. Don’t we all when we are asked to receive the gracious ministry or generous gift of someone else, let alone what Jesus wants to do for us? We think that we are too unimportant to bother God with our insignificant needs. We can take care of them ourselves because God is busy looking after much bigger issues in the world!

What we think is humility is actually a slap in God’s face. It is not humility; it is stupidity, revealing our misunderstanding of God as our Father. A true father is never too busy to listen to his child’s insignificant needs. He stoops to the little one, wipes away the tears and kisses the bumps and bruises better. How much more tender and loving is our heavenly Father who heals our hurts and “washes our feet” with His loving ministry to all our needs!

It is pride that resists Him and arrogance that slams the door in His face when He comes in the disguise of a slave to embrace us with His love and to draw us into His heart to become one with Him. When we refuse to submit to the generosity and ministry of His servants, we are in reality refusing Him and saying, in effect, ‘I don’t need you.’

Jesus’ gentle rebuke swung Simon Peter in the opposite direction. The Holy Spirit used an interesting title – Simon Peter. Was this a hint that Peter was in transition? He was still the old Simon, impetuous, vocal and volatile, but there was also an embryonic new Peter growing inside him. His spontaneous response to Jesus’ rebuke was to beg for an all-over wash, from head to foot because he desperately wanted to be one with his Lord. Peter might have been proud and did not understand but he was also honest and quick to correct, even over-correct his mistake.

Once again, Jesus wove a spiritual lesson into a simple act of hospitality. Just as a bath was enough to keep the body clean, so His disciples were “bathed” by Jesus’ words. Their bodies were clean; it was only their feet — their daily “walk” in the world that needed to be refreshed. We have been made clean by the blood of Christ, forgiven and made righteous once and for all, but our walk needs to be washed daily by the water of the Word so that our fellowship with our Lord may be unhindered by sin.

What a beautiful picture of what the Word of God does for us! Paul used the same imagery to describe a husband’s loving sacrificial service to his wife.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Ephesians 5:26 NIV.

Here is the key to oneness in marriage — the wife humbly submitting to her husband’s loving and sacrificial service and continually separating herself to him as her one and only lover. Humble submission the key to oneness with Jesus. If we keep short accounts with Him and submit to His “washing”, we will be ready when He needs us to wash someone else’s feet.

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

JESUS IN A DISTURBING DISGUISE

JESUS IN A DISTURBING DISGUISE

“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!’

“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 is why He said not everyone was clean.” John 13:6-11 NIV.

Don’t you just love Peter? No one can fault him for his passion!

As for his discernment — he was so much in the moment! And so proud! Once again, he was the one to react against Jesus’ action. John said nothing about the other disciples. His focus was on Peter. Was he having a little dig at him because of their constant rivalry?

The scene on the beach after the resurrection is another one of John’s little pokes at Peter! Jesus had reinstated Peter after his ignominious denial at His trial. Assured of his love, Jesus restored His commission to Peter to care for His sheep. Not satisfied with his own task, Peter questioned Jesus about John’s future. In polite terms Jesus told him to mind his own business…and John put that in his story!

Peter’s reaction to Jesus says a lot about his character. True humility submits to the person who is willing to serve in a humble task like the one that Jesus wanted to perform on him. The amazing thing is that this kind of submission bonds the served with the server. Was Jesus using this opportunity to test the attitude of His disciples to Him? Were they humble enough to allow Him to wash their feet? It was not difficult for Him to serve them, but how difficult was it for them to accept that service?

Peter’s reaction also reveals that, in spite of his passionate love for Jesus, he misunderstood the meaning of His action. He thought that Jesus was humiliating Himself and, for him that was unthinkable. Watch how he addressed Jesus as Lord! Did he use that title purposely to make it clear to Jesus that he thought He was above what He was doing?

Jesus was quick to clarify the meaning of His action. ‘Peter, this is much more than just washing your feet. This is about restoring our oneness with each other.’ Humility responding to humility as the very essence of their relationship; Master and servant — Master serving and servant humbly receiving that service so that the servant, in turn, would serve with the same heart as the Master.

Unless Peter submitted to and received what Jesus was about to do, he would never be part of who Jesus was, the Son of God, yes, but the Ebed Yahweh, the Son who came to serve in the disposition of a slave — one who had no reputation to defend because He purposely made Himself nothing. How else could He empty Himself so completely that He could hang naked on a Roman execution stake for the sins of the world?

For three and half years Jesus had been painstakingly washing His disciples with His word. From the eternal perspective, they were already clean, except for Judas because he had refused the word. They only needed the daily cleansing from the dust of their walk in a sinful world. Washing their feet was the symbolic cleansing they needed by allowing the word to wash them daily.

What amazing lessons they were learning in this single, simple loving act of hospitality. To set it up as a religious ritual has no meaning because it contributes nothing to our oneness of heart with Jesus. True “washing” that reflects our unity with Him would be to serve someone whom we consider “lower” than ourselves because Jesus said that, if we do it to the least of these, His brothers, we do it to Him.

As Mother Theresa said, the lowliest to whom we minister is Jesus in disguise!

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.