5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?"
7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter."
8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with me."
9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head."
10 Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."
In this passage, we find Jesus and His twelve disciples were preparing to eat together. This meal will come to be known as the Lord’s Supper. After sitting down, Jesus poured water into a bowl and began washing the disciples’ feet. Simon was astounded He would do this and proclaimed that His Lord and teacher should not wash his feet, but he the Lord’s.
We have read and heard teaching on this passage. We understand that Jesus lowered Himself to serve the disciples. At the end, He told the disciples to go and do as He did, be a servant to another.
Another thing we need to notice is Jesus’ words with Peter. When Peter exclaimed that the Lord should never wash his feet, Jesus said if I do not wash you, you will have no part, no destiny, with me. We rightly understand that the washing Jesus spoke of was the washing that cleansed people from sin and made them children of God, co-heirs with Christ.
What we need to notice is that Peter exclaimed then that he wanted Jesus to wash more than his feet. Jesus’ reply gives us a new understanding. Jesus said, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.” We understand that walking in Israel at that time was very dusty and when people sat to eat, they sat on the floor with their feet near the food and others. People did not want to offend others by their dirty feet so the host or his servant would bring water to wash the feet of people before they ate. Jesus recognized this when He told Peter not all of him was dirty, but only his feet. That is the literal interpretation of this passage. There is figurative interpretation, too. These disciples, except Judas, had come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and he cleansed them from their sin already. They no longer carried the death penalty for their sins. The disciples were His and not Satan’s. However, each day a person sins and needs to repent and receive forgiveness. Forgiveness from the Lord is cleansing. This is the cleansing Jesus meant when He told Peter He only needed to wash His feet. Being in the presence of Jesus, God’s Son, required His disciples to be clean from their sins, the ones they committed since they became His disciples. Jesus taught this to them when He washed their feet that day.
This is the lesson for us today. If you are already a disciple of Jesus, He has already cleansed your whole self. However, as we live in this sinful world day by day, we sin and need to be cleansed from our sin. We need to go before Jesus, confess our sins, repent, and ask Him to cleanse us. Our “dirty feet” keep us from being in the presence of God. It will weigh us down so that we cannot hear God as well and then we do not do all that God requires. Sin entangles us so that it is harder to run the race God has prepared for us. It is harder to be Jesus’ disciples and serve Him and other people.
How long has it been since you allowed Jesus to wash your feet? Today, right now, is the right time to go before the Lord confessing and repenting of your sin. Take the time now, for the next five minutes to be with the Lord and let Him cleanse you for this new day.