Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."
Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!"
Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."
Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"
Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."
So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
[John 13:6-17 NKJV]
Jesus is with us and wants us to find the truth in our relationship with Him. He says when He washes our feet — when His presence makes us clean — "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." He knows the effect that He will produce in us.
I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have always felt awkward or uncomfortable about receiving a gift; not ungrateful, just “easier to give than to receive.” I think it is probably a common trait, but really it can be a form of pride, or more accurately, a lack of humility. Here, Jesus is offering a very personal touch — literally — to bless and refresh, knowing that it requires grateful acquiescence in return. It is a two-way thing. Jesus always requires our response to His touch, and He seeks the response that helps us grow in faith, love and trusting in Him — humility.
Peter shows us the unvarnished truth of ourselves. His first response is to reject and object, — effectively returning the gift unopened — but when the reality is explained to him; "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.", he swings completely to the opposite extreme; "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" Peter still does not understand. He is stuck in his own interpretation, and does not see with Jesus’ eyes.
Jesus persists and washes the disciples’ feet, but tells them (and us, for the disciples represent ourselves in our relationship with Him), that they ought to wash one another’s feet; care for one another as Jesus cares for us. Be as He is.
A HOLY PROMISE: Oswald Chambers on Hope
Alone with God! It is there that what is hid with God is made known — God’s ideals, God’s hopes, God’s doings. The intense individual responsibility of walking among men from the standpoint of being alone with the real God, is never guessed until we do stand alone with God. It is a hidden thing, so hidden that it seems not only untenable but a wild quixotic thing to do, and so it would be if God were not known to be real.
[from ‘Christian Discipline’]
Listen to this meditation by clicking on the audio file below
“Lord I Come (Wash My Feet) — David Brackenbury
'Meditate on these things'
Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant."
They said, "Do as you have said."
[Genesis 18:4-5 NKJV]
GEORGE and GILL STEWART