Links Daily Devotional

Clean Feet

Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his 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 everyone was clean. (John 13:10-11, NIV)

Yesterday we made headway in allowing ourselves to understand that there is thanks to be offered for the uncovering of our sin. Only when we openly admit that sin has hold of us will we step in Christ’s direction, seeking the salvation only he can give.

Today we point our thanks in a related direction—recognizing that we are enduringly clean even while we are apt to picking up sins along the way.

On the night of his betrayal, Jesus gathered with the Twelve for the Passover meal in a common upper room in Jerusalem. The Gospel of John lays out this scene more extensively than the other gospels, and thus it includes a narration of the episode where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Parts of this account are clear: for one, Jesus was conveying to the disciples that their lives too were to be a life of service.

But there was also a typical exchange between Peter and Jesus, where Peter went over the top and Jesus had to bring him back to down a bit. When Jesus made it clear what he was about to do, Peter wanted to deny the Lord the opportunity, implying that the Master should not be serving anyone. But Jesus replied that if Peter wanted to be identified with Christ, he needed to allow the Savior to wash him. Once Peter understood this, he exclaimed, “Then wash all of me!”

It was from here that Jesus explained the difference between a full bath and a footwashing. All the disciples (but one), Jesus explained, had essentially had their baths. They needed only to have their feet washed.

What do we make of this?

We know from the passage’s own interpretive offering that Jesus was not speaking of a literal bath, for he indicated that not all were clean as one would betray him. This means not that Judas Iscariot had not bathed, but rather that he was not spiritually clean.

The others, though, were clean from the “spiritual baths.” Only their feet were dirty and needed cleansing. So it can be said that while you and I, if we are in Christ, have received the thorough saving wash of Jesus’ blood, we will need little clean-ups along the way. For we too walk in the world, and its temptations and troubles will draw us into sin each day—a careless insult, a covetous reach, a self-serving decision. For these, we go to the Savior again, seeking his grace for the dust on our spiritual feet.

When we shoot an ugly round, we do not cease to be golfers. In the same way, if we have been wholly cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we cannot lose that identity. But again and again we will go to him in contrition and seek a brightening of our dull places.

Jeff Hopper

November 20, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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