I looked out the window and groaned. My sixty-six pound puppy, Max, had found the hose Larry had left running on his tomatoes. He was up to his elbows in mud. As much as I love Max, he would not be back inside until I washed off his feet and legs.
This reminded me of when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Remember the scene:
“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.’” (John 13:6-10, NIV).
Did you catch Jesus’ answer when Peter wanted to be washed all over, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” There is only one way to deal with the real guilt all people have before a holy God. We must come to the cross and be cleansed with the blood of Jesus—once for all time (Hbr 10:10, 1Pe 3:18). This is the “bath” that cleans the whole soul, and when God permanently seals us into the righteousness of Christ.
However, Christians still sin. When we do, we don’t need another sacrifice for our sins—we’ve had our bath—we need our feet washed. And Peter couldn’t wash his own feet. Jesus had to wash them.
How do we allow Jesus to wash our feet today? I can think of three ways.
By walking in the light (1Jo 1:7)
When Max and I are out together, I brush off the pine needles and debris he picks up. When we walk in fellowship with our Lord, He is continually cleaning us.
By confessing our sins (1Jo 1:9)
Confession is agreeing God’s standards are right and Jesus’ sacrifice is complete. Confession is aligning my will with His. When we are up to our elbows in mud, confession is God’s provision for cleansing our sins. Like Peter, I agree with Jesus, and He cleanses me from all unrighteousness.
The mud on Max did not change my love for him, but I did not want his grime soiling my clothes and home. His dirt hindered our closeness, not our relationship. But I was willing to change my clothes to clean him so he could come inside again.
Jesus does the same for us. Don’t hide or cover your sin. Submit to His cleansing and enjoy the closeness of His fellowship. If we brush our teeth so we can be close to people, shouldn’t we wash our feet?