Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8)
Jesus who was in a position of great honor decided to eschew all that privilege and lower himself to serve those that the world thought should be serving Him. Jesus was always turning things upside down — challenging our beliefs and attitudes about what was valuable and what was not and what was wrong and what was right.
It’s very important that Jesus first serves us. Through Jesus washing our feet, we get our sense of our own value and worth. That’s probably one of the first steps to being a good disciple; first, we must know completely and unequivocally that we have infinite worth. And after we know this, from this place of wholeness, we can get fill up others to show them their worth.
I wonder if part of the gospel message is: The God of the Universe came down in human form to convey the simple message that you are a person of unequivocal worth. You matter, and I would do anything to be in relationship with you. It would be an interesting exercise for each of us to put into our own words what exactly the gospel message is; what is the message that your soul is desperate to hear? I don’t resonate with the accusatory tone of “you are a sinner in need of rescuing and it’s your fault that Jesus died a horrible death.” I have never believed that my core identity is that of a sinner, nor do I believe that I was evil from the time that I was conceived. I do believe that I was lost and wandering, looking in vain for rescue. Maybe this is why I don’t make a good Christian.
In the Bible, the central message that Jesus often gave was that your sins are forgiven. The aspect of sin must be a big part of the good news. I need to ponder this more.
In today’s passage, Peter was making two common mistakes that many Christians make.
First of all, he didn’t want Jesus wash his feet. Why? It was because feet are the part that we do not want to show to anyone. It is a part of our shame and humiliation. Peter did not want to share his deep shame and humiliation with Jesus. Like Peter, we also do not invite Jesus to deep shame and humiliation of our life. We failed and are badly broken. Sometimes, we do not want to admit that we are badly broken. However, our broken parts cannot be healed unless we face them. Jesus is inviting us to bring up our deepest humiliation, failure, and shame to him, so he can heal us.
Peter thought that he should wash all his body without knowing Jesus would already wash him. On the Cross, Jesus washed and cleansed our sin (whether the original sin or the sins we have committed before we meet Jesus). So, we don’t have to be washed anymore. Some people work so hard as they should achieve their own salvation. No. Our salvation (washing the whole body) was done by Jesus already on the Cross. However, Jesus said Peter still should wash his feet (not body). It is because our feet still get dirty every day even after we washed our body. We don’t have to wash the whole body but we need to wash our feet every day. Our sin (the original and all past sins) were forgiven. However, we commit sins every day even after we met Jesus. We do not life according to God’s will and we still live as we are slaves of desire, money, worry, and fear. So, we need to repent our daily sin as we need to wash our feet every day.