Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dirty Feet, Dirty Hearts, and a Savior Who Washes Them Clean

The Lord’s Supper
13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them [a]to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
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.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and [b]you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

I was going to write a short reflection on this passage, urging myself and others who trust on Jesus to wash each others feet, and the feet of those we disagree with.  The debates of the last week, the anger, name calling, fighting in regards to the Supream Court Case hearings have saddened my heart.  On the one hand I want to stand for what I believe scripture says, I don't want to compromise my beliefs, but on the other hand I don't want to alientate my friends who disagree with me, who feel passionately about the other side of the argument.  So I'd planned to put up a banner to encourage both sides to do as Jesus did and wash the feet of our enemies as He did for Judas, as He did for disciples whose sin put Him on the cross, for disciples who would abandon Him to torture and death in the next few hours.

Then I realized how far short such urgings would fall.  The thing is, such exhortations would reek of self-righteousness, a heart of pride, and the false belief that we can save ourselves.  Christ washed our feet because we could not/would not do it ourselves, He went to the cross because no matter how good our lives look on the outside, whether you are straight, gay, republican, democrat (or libertarian), tattooed, not tattooed, working, unemployed... inside we are rotten corpses - whitewashed tombs.  Our sin put Him there, and He went willingly.  He washed us with His blood...

So rather than shake my finger at the world and insist that "all of you need to be washing each other's feet", I want to pause and look to the cross, something I need to be doing way more often.  The God-Man Who gave His life there is the only One Who can take us rotten corpses and bring us to life, make us people willing and joyful to wash the feet of others.  May we not be distracted by the arguments and troubles of this world, especially over the next few days as we reflect on Calvery and the empty tomb, may God soften our hearts and miracle of miracles abide with us, and may this heart change seep into our actions as naturally as breathing.

Praise be to the God of all hope.   

For the lenten devotional that inspired this post, visit Kiki's site over at

1 comment:

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Amen. Love this post.