“My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. …” John 13:10 (MSG)
You probably can’t count how many times the experts have warned you to wash your hands as the best preventative measure against the Coronavirus. Jesus used a similar warning in an object lesson for His disciples that would protect them from the virus of sin. John’s Gospel tells us that it was just before the Passover Feast and Jesus knew His time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. As they ate the supper together, Jesus wanted to show His disciples the full extent of His love in a way they would never forget. So, He took a towel, wrapped it around His waist, poured water in a basin and began to wash His disciple’s feet; a task only the lowliest of household servants would perform. Peter was indignant that the Master would humble Himself in such a way and refused to be washed. “You’re not going to wash my feet – ever!” John 13:8a (MSG)
Jesus told them in verse seven, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.” Then He added this in the next verse to Peter, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
I love Peter’s impulsive response! “‘Master!’ said Peter. ‘Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!” (Verse 9) In other words, “Lord I need a bath! Wash me completely!
Then Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. …” (Verse 10)
What a powerful reminder to me of my daily need to come before God and ask Him to purify my heart, my mind, my motives, my desires, so that my life will be in alignment with His purpose. Peter didn’t want to miss out on anything Jesus was doing or going to do. He had no idea how God would use Him to become the spokesman at Pentecost and a pillar of the New Testament Church! But before Peter could be part of what Jesus was doing to redeem a lost and dying world, he needed his own feet washed. He didn’t need another bath.
We can’t help but be exposed to the sinfulness of our world as we walk through the day. It begins to affect our thinking, our emotions, and our behavior. Before, we know it, we can get out of fellowship with Christ and lose sight of His greater purpose. Our relationship with God is secure, but our fellowship with Him can be broken through sin and our usefulness destroyed. To have our feet washed, we must put them into the hands of the Savior! The promise of 1 John 1:9 was given to Christ followers as well. “But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. [And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.]”
So here’s a challenge that can helps us stay in right fellowship with God daily. Every time you wash your hands, offer Jesus your feet, (your daily walk), and ask Him to cleanse you of any impurity, that you may live a holy life before Him and others. It’s not just about hygiene, Jesus said, “My concern, you understand, is holiness.” A daily foot washing is the best protection against the virus of sin that would disable us from being a part of what God wants to do in and through our lives.