Would Christ wash my feet? It depends on who you ask and upon the condition of the feet. I guess in these days of manicures and pedicures it does not matter. I know the Lord washes feet. The Bible says so. It is just so hard to imagine. I mean after all he’s….Jesus.
So I am trying to imagine myself reclining with them at that table. I would be thinking, “Is this all necessary for him to wash their feet and even mine?” Is he rubbing this in, forgive the pun, because we did not do the most simple of cultural practices at that time? He would use this as an object lesson demonstrating how we should serve one another. I get that. But the feet, man…the feet they are so dirty. My feet are so dirty. Yet no one even thought about it. Jesus said nothing at first.
Roads were muddy and dusty back then. People wore sandals. Feet were rough and abused. In most homes water was provided so people could wash their own feet. Rich people had a slave who was in charge of foot washing in their homes. You know what bothers me? We are eating reclined at a low table so dirty feet are an issue-at least with me. Seriously, who wants some Apostle’s dirty feet near your food?
Jesus still -saw my filthy feet and still went on with the dinner and teaching the new commitment God was making with us. This bread is MY BODY…this cup IS MY BLOOD. Then he fed us. This was his object lesson about His body being broken for our healing and his blood was being spilled for our forgiveness. Although it was just bread and drink something spiritual was happening. It was as though he gave us spiritual meat and drink so that we could know that we live in HIM, and HE lives in us (John 6:56). We are and were healed. Awesome.
What could show his love for us more than this? NOTHING. So, what did he have to prove? He could have waited just to show his love later on the Cross. Instead he does THIS. It seems he uses as many opportunities as he can to show his love to us. So I began to think that it must have mattered they had dirty feet.
I mean Jesus let the disciples eat with dirty hands one time (Mk. 7:1-23) and explained that it is not unwashed hands but a dirty heart that was the issue. That time He left them as is, but not here.
Dirty feet and all, raw, uncultivated rejects of society (I fit in there, insert name) he selflessly and tangibly loves us. He goes right ahead and touched and washed their dirty feet. Then Christ, the eternal Son of God washes my feet and I am still confused why he would do this for me (John 13:7). All I could do is touch his shoulder and say, “Thanks Lord” and probably start crying. What else can you say to such an unmerited act of grace? But again what I sense is more than clean feet. The whole thing was refreshing. Then he tells us that we are all clean, except one. Judas. His feet were clean but not his heart.
Christ washes us by his name and Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:11). Hearing about Jesus will cause us, his genuine followers, to be filled with his presence. By this He refreshes my soul and your soul. (Psalm 23:3). He has cleansed us. He has washed us. He rejuvenates us and we feel refreshed. We are and were washed.
He washes us because he loves us perfectly. This is why I plead with preachers and churches to preach the Word-even Jesus, the living Word. This is why we should study and contemplate the scriptures, which focus on revealing Christ, the Word becoming flesh (John 5:39; John 1:14).
All this just shows he rejects the dirt not the disciple. We often think of Christ being so repulsed at us that he must wash us because we stink so bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. He washes us because we are his own. He does not wash us because he is repulsed at us but because we are his body. We are one with him.
He said that if he does not wash us we have no part with him (John 13:8). Jesus prays at a later time and says, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:19). Sanctified in this context would mean he is clean so we are clean. As he is, so are we (1 John 4:17). We are made clean through his Word, the truth and Jesus is the Word and Truth. He brings a washing-not out of repulsion but love. He washes us because we are one with him. The mystery of the church is that it is his body, his flesh and his bones (see Eph. 5:23-32). We are and were one with him.