If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me

By John Foll, written 3/25/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

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.’” John 13:8 NASB.

At the last supper, which was part of the Jewish Passover, the Jews had customs of washings, especially before religious events. Apparently servants sometimes washed the feet of those at these events, like the Passover, but since none of the disciples offered to take up this menial role, Jesus rose up and did the part of the servant. But when He came to Peter, Peter said, ‘never shall You wash my feet!’ He didn’t think that Jesus should be washing anyone’s feet, since He was the Son of God. Why would a king wash someone else’s feet? Whether or not we are right that the disciples expected someone else to wash their feet, i.e. a servant, it is clear that none of them got up to do the job. And so Jesus did. But we think that this is true, based on Jesus’ comment below in Luke 22:23-27 and in John 13:12-17.

And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.­ [Betray Jesus.] And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves."” Luke 22:23-27 NASB.

The disciples were bickering about who was the greatest among them, and did not think who would take the servant’s role of washing feet, or serve those at the table. Maybe this was why none of them got up to serve the others? But Jesus explained that the greater one is the one who serves.

“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ 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. For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” John 13:9-11 NASB.

The disciples, except for Judas, were clean. But they needed help and needed to make some changes. Each of them needed to stop bickering and seeking the first place for themselves, and they needed to be the servant of others. They had lessons to learn on pride and self-seeking. In the same way, in our day, those who are Christian, who should love Jesus and want to be His servant, His modern day disciple, sometimes bicker and disagree with each other. But unfortunately not all who claim to be Christian, who should be Jesus’ disciple, are clean, and not all are truly His servant – some serve themselves during the week, and then come to Church. But some are clean, and just need to learn this lesson of humility, to wash one another’s feet.

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? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 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. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB.  

What things are you blessed if you do them? Wash one another’s feet, or to bear one another’s burdens; being the servant of the brethren and others. Is Jesus your Master? Yes? Then do as He did and serve others, washing their feet and helping them. Blessed are you if you do these things, following in your Master’s footsteps. Do you know what Jesus has done for you? Then walk in His footsteps.

Dear reader, are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you His servant? Are you clean before Him? Have you let the Spotless Lamb of God take away your sins and make you clean? If you do not let Jesus wash you, you have no part with Him! You must let Him forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Then you will be His disciple. If you appreciate His love for you, which took the guilt and burdens of your sins away from you and gave you peace, you should greatly love Him. If you love Him, you can’t help but want to be His servant. If you are His servant, you will want to bear one another’s burdens and wash the brethren’s feet. If you are His servant you will want to tell others about God’s love for you and how He saved you and took all your sins and burdens away! If He has done all of this for you, how could you not be His servant? How could you not love Him all the way, and be filled with His love, joy, and wonderful peace? Something to think about… Blessed are you if you do these things – wash one another’s feet and be Jesus’ servant and disciple.

Do not seek to be first. Do not seek your own way. Do not bicker with one another, or beat up on God’s other servants. Be clean from all your sins, allowing Jesus to take them all away, and have wonderful peace! Let the kindness and love of God fill your heart, may His wonderful Spirit fill you, and make you His loving servant, sacrificing all on the altar of your heart, counting all things but rubbish, but for the excellency of knowing and serving Him. God forbid that we should glory in anything but the cross!But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14 KJV.

May the grace of God be with you. May you decide to follow Jesus, be clean and wash one another’s feet. Amen.

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