Daily Word

Wash and be clean | John 13:5-11

5 Then He poured water into the basin and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which was tied around His waist. 6 When He came to Simon Peter, he said to Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied to him, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will [fully] understand it later.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me [we can have nothing to do with each other].”

9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, [in that case, wash] not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, and is completely clean. And you [My disciples] are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who was going to betray Him; for that reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

John 13:5-11 (AMP)

Jesus is in the process of demonstrating servant love to his disciples. In Matthew 20:28, during His public ministry, Jesus had already told them He, the Son of Man, did not come to be served but to serve and give His life. This service is not a one-time action but a way of life. Jesus does this for a second reason as well.

Intolerable Embarrassment 

This was such a humble action that it made the disciples uncomfortable. None of them had humbled themselves to do this task. Peter was the most demonstrative of the disciples – always responding quickly (often before thinking). He saw Jesus washing the other’s feet and was probably overcome with embarrassment that the Master was doing what he should have done. So he says, “You will never wash my feet!” 

The other meaning

Jesus replies to Peter that this washing has a second meaning – spiritual cleansing. It indicates connection to Jesus. The AMP adds the explanation, “we can have nothing to do with each other”. Peter then replies immediately, “Wash all of me. I want to have everything to do with you. I’m all in!” [This is the same Peter who in a few days will, out of fear, deny Jesus.]

It is common in Asian culture for people to simply wash their feet at the end of the day rather than taking a full shower. If they didn’t get dirty during the day, they only wash their feet since that is all that comes into contact with the unclean.

Jesus tells the disciples that they are already clean. They’ve been around Jesus, seeing His miracles, hearing His teaching and believing in Him. They have a relationship with Him. As they come in contact with the world, they lack faith, and they sin. They (we) confess that sin and are washed. Our relationship with Him is restored.

<- Reflection ->
  • Have you been “washed” by Jesus? Are you putting your faith in Him to cleanse you of sin and restore your relationship with God? If not, click here.
  • Or, are you daily “getting your feet washed”? Do you make a point of quickly confessing sin to be cleansed (1 John 1:9) and restored? I am talking to myself!
Wash feet in bathtub. Image from Pxfuel.com

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