Our scripture for today is John 13:1-17.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
In this passage, Peter initially objects to Jesus washing his feet. He doesn’t understand why the one of whom he testified “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) would lower Himself in this way. As Jesus explains, he then cries “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Peter could be the poster child for us all. He is reluctant at first, but afterwards he is over enthusiastic. How often are we like Peter, hot and cold? We see other examples of this in his behavior – walking on the water to Christ but then sinking, declaring he would follow Jesus anywhere and then denying Him.
Jesus sometimes chided Peter and others with the gentle rebuke “Oh ye of little faith” (Matthew 8:26), telling them that they must grow in faith to see the promise He offers and understand the sacrifice He would make for us. May we hear and obey His call to grow as children of God and share our living faith with all the world.
Gracious God, in Your love and mercy You sent Jesus to save Your rebellious children. Help us to be the faithful followers You created us to be! Amen.