Yesterday I shared some of my favorite verses from John in which Jesus prepares His disciples for what is to come. I must confess that I was in a bit of a hurry because I had to get to a meeting and so I didn’t take the time to comment on each of the verses. Today I want to focus on just one of the portions of scripture that I quoted yesterday and share some thoughts on it.
In John 13:5-8, the apostle John records this sequence of events that occurred at the Last Supper:
After that, he [Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
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.”
I love this passage because it shows the Lord of the Universe being a servant to His disciples. Makes me wonder who am I to not be a servant to all who are around me? In my job I am a manager. In the hierarchy of the organization, I am above my 7 staff members. I’m not Lord of the Universe, but I am in charge of these 7 people and can tell them what work they need to do. But shouldn’t I, nonetheless, be their servant? Isn’t my responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs properly? If Jesus could humble Himself to be a servant to fishermen and tax collectors, who am I to not do the same?
I also love Simon Peter! He always thinks he knows what is right. He doesn’t think Jesus should be washing his feet. It’s not the proper order of things, and he’s not afraid to say so. Simon Peter reminds me of myself sometimes. I think I know what is right, but sometimes I just need to be quiet and listen to what God has to teach me. I need to let God be who He is and learn from the example of Jesus.
But my favorite part of this passage is what Jesus says to Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” We all must be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. If we are not, we have no part with Jesus, we have no part with God. Unless we accept His atoning sacrifice and allow Him to make us whiter than snow and wash away our sins, we have no part with the Divine. If we want to do it our way, fine – but then we have no part with God. We are on our own. And on my own is, I have found, a scary, lonely place to be.