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Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Peter's Feet

“You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said (John 13:8).

Feet stink when they are dirty.

That’s a human fact, not a cultural observation. After a long, hard day, your feet have absorbed a pounding. If you wear sandals, they have been exposed to dirt everywhere. If your feet are in socks, they are likely to be sweaty. And then you have all the usual foot problems--ingrown nails, corns, calluses, cracked heels, and for some people, fungus of various kinds.

In those days you normally washed your own feet after the host offered you a basin of water. You knelt down, removed your sandals, washed your feet, and then dried them with a towel. If a man had servants, they might be delegated to do the job for you. This was the mark of high achievement in society: that servants washed the feet of your guests. But under no circumstances would the host wash the feet of his guests. The master would never stoop so low as to wash the feet of those beneath him.

Slaves washed feet.
Masters never did.

That’s why Peter is shocked when Jesus stoops down and begins to wash the feet of his disciples. Everything was upside down! They should be washing his feet; he shouldn’t be washing theirs.

Jesus came to a world of dirty feet.

Our journey through life is much dirtier than we think. You never know what you might step in that will leave you defiled and unclean. We don’t like to think about that, but it is true. No matter how hard we may try to stay clean, we are all dirtier than we think, and we end each day dirtier than when we started.

That’s why Jesus told Peter that although he was clean already, he still needed to have his feet washed. “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet” (v. 10). Two different words are used here-one meaning a complete bath and the other meaning to wash something. Coming to Christ is like taking a bath. We are made clean as our sin is washed away. But we still need daily cleansing.

When we come to Christ, the guilt of our sin is removed forever. Because we live in a dirty world, we need cleansing every day.

Regeneration cannot be repeated.
Cleansing must be repeated.

Think about the course of your life over the last 24 hours:

You have said things you ought not to have said.

You have responded unkindly or too quickly.
You have done things you ought not to have done.
You have left undone acts of mercy.
You have not been perfect, nor have I.

That’s why we need what Jesus offers. We need to be cleansed again every day. We need salvation that takes away the guilt of sin and provides for daily cleansing. Jesus fits us for heaven, he removes the guilt of sin, and he daily cleanses us from every sin when we call on him (1 John 1:9). Through his bloody death on the cross Christ provides all that we need, now and forever.

We are great sinners who need a great Savior. We have one in Jesus Christ, who stooped so low that he was not ashamed to wash our dirty feet.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your blood that washes my sin away. I ask you to wash my dirty feet so that I might walk closely with you today. Amen. 

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