John 13:7-11 : Jesus answered him, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, “You are not all clean.”
Yes we read this a couple of posts ago… and yes we need to rewind and look at this again. Some of God’s messages are very complex. They can be taken at face value and are a beautiful thing, but they often have other encoded deep meanings as well. It is not unlike God to bury treasures for us to find. We see this in creation. Not too many years ago we thought that the “cell” was the smallest organism in the human body. The cell can be seen that way and we can learn some things about biology, but we were later to discover that the cell holds the equivalent of a perhaps a city’s worth of organisms with it as well (probably more it’s just I don’t know yet). We see this pattern with the Bible too.
Notice how Jesus tells Peter “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” Now that’s a strong statement in regard to a foot washing! You would think that Peter would get the point, even by watching others feet get washed, if this were merely an example. Even if He did decided to let Jesus do it, why did Jesus go to the extent of saying that He would have “no part” of Him. To make it even more difficult, Jesus says that Peter was already “completely clean” unlike Judas. Why is Jesus making such a big deal about washing here if it is only about serving each other?
I must conclude that it isn’t only about serving one another that Jesus is talking about. Sure, Jesus is giving us an example, but Jesus is also doing something so important that if a follower doesn’t allow Jesus to do it, He will not have a part of Him.
And why the big deal about Judas. Over and over Jesus separates Himself from Judas. John makes it extremely clear that Jesus realized that Judas situation was different than the rest and that this was because the Bible says that Judas has to be there. Wouldn’t Judas need an example of kindness too if that’s all it was?
John tells us that being dirty is synonymous with being an internally unclean person by telling us: “For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, ‘You are not all clean.'” Now we know that betrayal doesn’t necessarily make your body dirty. Instead, betrayal makes your heart dirty. Jesus is making it clear, on another level, that His disciples, with the exception of Judas, have been cleaned inside by Jesus. They are now “good” because of Him.
But why this difference between being “completely clean” and having feet washed? If Jesus was sure they were already clean inside as a whole, what is the foot part of your insides? Listen to what John says in one of his other books of the Bible:
1 John 1:8 – 2:1 : If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
This “book” is actually a letter to Christians. Let’s take a look at this parallels what Jesus said to Peter.
When Peter told Jesus not to wash his feet, spiritually, it was saying that he didn’t want Jesus to forgive His sin. Jesus knew that Peter didn’t understand this, but that is what the type would suggest. A failure to allow Jesus to wash our spiritual feet is to live in sin. John says here that one reason for failing to allow Jesus to do this is because we don’t believe we are sinning. Jesus makes it clear that our “feet” will get dirty as we walk our spiritual road.
Isn’t it great that Jesus made it clear that if we have been completely cleaned spiritually, we don’t need to come to Jesus over and over to be “saved” or washed entirely. If we were saved once, that is enough. “Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean.
There appears to be yet another deeper meaning… What sense does it make when Jesus says He has chosen them. More codes next post.
Roman Culture: Romans had public baths and dirt paths. You would take a bath and walk back to the dressing room on a dirt path, so the first thing you would do is to wash your feet in the dressing room before putting your clothes back on. This sheds some light on what Jesus was saying.