3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:3-11
Peter was watching Jesus. He saw him get up, take off his outer garments, prepare the water, and then begin washing feet. If it had been at the door. If it had been the lowliest servant. Peter probably would not have minded. He would have welcomed the moment his feet were cleansed. But now to receive this service from his Rabbi, his master, his Lord was too humiliating. Peter refused Jesus.
But Jesus makes it clear. “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Its a harsh answer that clearly pains Peter. So Peter goes all in, “Then, give me a bath!”
Jesus raises the conversation from feet to hearts. The person who has received Jesus as Lord for the forgiveness of sin is cleansed; such a person only requires refreshment and relief from the daily press of life in a broken world. Yet, it is essential. Summoned into the communion of God, followers of Jesus need daily refreshment from Him. We need the Holy Spirit to renew us daily for the life and work of Jesus’ kingdom. Peter had to humble himself in order to receive from Jesus.
Later Peter would express what its like to humble yourself under the hand of God as a person in a ministry community. Peter wanted the church to know what’s required in our hearts in order to receive from God. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7
Will you reframe what’s its like to be “under the mighty hand of God?” Can you imagine being still, being quiet, being real, being honest before Jesus Christ our Lord as He washes your feet?”