“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
Peter was beginning to understand something of who Jesus was. However, it was unthinkable that Jesus should wash his feet. This was the work of a servant, a slave, not of his lord and teacher. If anything, he should be the one washing Jesus’ feet.
Jesus, however, was making a number of significant points at this time. The one highlighted here was, simply, that unless we are washed, that is cleansed, by Jesus – and cleansed totally and completely – we have no future with Him. We will not be a part of His Kingdom, His Salvation. We will not join Him as children of the Heavenly Father, nor will we share in His inheritance. He, and only He, can do this washing and cleanse us totally and completely. The washing of the feet indicated too that, however they may have started out, they had been dirtied by sin on their journey through the day, and needed that guilt and stain to be dealt with.
The same is true for us. The first thing that any disciple needs to do is let Jesus cleanse him or her. Initially, it will take the form of a confession of guilt and need and a turning to Him as our Lord and Saviour. Then He will show us, through the promptings of the Spirit and the Word, the areas in our lives that need repentance, cleansing and healing. This will take place during our ongoing journey with Him. On top of that, as we journey imperfectly through a fallen world we will ourselves behave imperfectly, unhealthily and sinfully. Here too we will need cleansing every day.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)
At the close of every day, ask God to show you the sins and shortcomings of the day, express your sorrow and ask for forgiveness and healing.
Lord Jesus, unless You wash me I have no part with You. Thank You for the great washing of Salvation. Now, every day, please forgive me my sins, known and unknown, and cleanse and set me free from them. Amen.