He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. –John 13:4-8
When we realize that even through our best efforts and attempt to live clean in a dirty world there comes a time when we fail, we sin, we get dirty. While this is not my hearts desire, my desire is to follow Jesus and obey Him in all I do but here we see Jesus taking the role of a servant and doing physically what he will soon be doing for us spiritually when He was sacrificed for my sins. Even Paul struggled with this:
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. –Romans 7:18-20
We see that there are now two natures at war within us, the old flesh that sins and the new nature from God that does not and sometimes just like Paul we wind up doing that which I do not want to do. But Jesus in His love said we can still be clean. This is a hard thought to swallow. My Saviour making Himself a lowly servant to make me clean, and to keep me clean.
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash [his] feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. –John 13:9-11
Here Peter in his often shown exuberance declares to Jesus to clean him from head to toe. But that would break the type, the picture Jesus is trying to paint here. If you are saved you are clean in the sight of God (Thank God He does it I could never do it on my own!) but since we walk in a dirty world our feet get dirty (we still have the flesh and commit sins) but we can get our feet clean again by Jesus, how?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9
We need to confess our sins (homologeō: to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of[i]) He will forgive us and cleans us from all unrighteousness (adikia: unrighteousness of heart and life- a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness[ii]). This is not just saying “forgive me my sins” but a heartfelt repentance of what we have done admitting the sins one by one so He can forgive them and lead us in a desire to stop doing them over and over again. This does not happen unless we get personal with God.
Don’t worry; it is not like you are going to surprise God with what you have done. He already knows and like the Father in the prodigal son He is waiting on you to come back so He can forgive you. Remember He loved you (and me!) enough to send Jesus to suffer and die, arising on the third day so He can have a relationship with us and stand in righteousness in front of Him not because of anything that I did but what He has done for me.
Just something to think about.
[i] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for homologeō (Strong’s 3670)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2008. 3 Jul 2008. < http:// cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
[ii] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for adikia (Strong’s 93)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2008. 3 Jul 2008. < http:// cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?