Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Completely Clean 3/26/2013
As He neared the end of His mission, Jesus was finished with His public ministry and now wanted to leave His beloved disciples with some final teachings, namely about humility and love, which He proceeds to do in John 13-17. In our devotion today, we "see" Him beginning these nuggets of grace and truth for them by using one of their everyday customs: The washing of feet that were dirty after walking on the dusty roads.

We will use this portion of Scripture for today, Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for the remembrance of Jesus' institution of the Lord's Holy Supper on Maundy Thursday. We will not only remember this institution of His Supper, but we will partake of it during our worship service on Thursday evening.

KJV John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 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.

Jesus knew who He was, for He knew where He came from, why He was here, where He was going and therefore, He desired from the depths of His heart to get the meaning of all what He was about to do across to His disciples. As already mentioned, He was going to use an everyday custom to initiate these final moments with his12 beloved disciples. He employed something which normally the servant in the household did: Wash the feet of the guests, which in this case would mean that the disciples would have washed their Master's feet. Normally that is how things would go, they did not do so, but instead their Master began to wash their feet. As this happened, it brought about a negative reaction from Peter, the spokesperson of the disciples.

6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Peter did not understand as to why this was happening, so he did what he should have done in asking for clarification from his Master. It seems as if he was kind of incredulous in his question which would make the question more like this: "Lord, surely you are not going to wash my feet?'" He was thinking in a natural manner and did not see the spiritual lesson that Jesus was longing to leave with them, which was going to be demonstrated by Him giving of His life on the cross for their/our sin.

Jesus replies to him that he does not understand at this point, but he will later. But Peter, being an impulsive man who had a hard time waiting for things to be understood, then made the firm statement of conviction, thinking he had it figured out. " Thou shalt never wash my feet!"

Thinking in a natural and earthly manner, Peter had it exactly right, that it was backwards for his Master to wash his feet. But more than natural reasoning is needed here in order to "see" what Jesus is demonstrating to His beloved followers, for spiritual insight is needed to be able to "see" the meaning of what Jesus is doing. Peter, of all the disciples, is not one that we ever have to wonder what he is thinking, for he wears his feelings and opinions "on his sleeve" as we might say in our idioms of today. He is simply saying what is in his heart with his understanding of who Jesus is and to his way of thinking at this point in his journey with Jesus, it is just plain backwards that this noted Teacher of Israel would wash his feet. It would be something akin to having one of our presidents over and having him serve us in some manner instead of our serving him. It is preposterous to imagine such a thing. Jesus then follows Peter's statement with one of His own by saying:

Jesus answered him, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."

What!! If Jesus does not wash my feet, I will no longer be one of His followers!!! No way!! If it takes my allowing my Master to wash my feet with water, I can do that. Sure I can do that, but why would he just wash my feet, why not my hands and my head also? So, Peter utters another statement of conviction and maybe we could say a request of his Master...

9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 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.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

Now Christ gives the meaning to what He was showing unto them in that He was pointing to the truth of that which the Apostle John had written earlier when he wrote: John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, and of which the Apostle Paul wrote also: 2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;

He washed us and cleansed us of our sin with His Holy innocent blood which He shed on the cross of Calvary. That is what He has done totally independent of anything that we have done. He made us blameless before God by taking the blame on Himself and carrying all the guilt that stood against us away into the God's sea of forgettfulness.

Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Jesus made us acceptable in God's sight through the cross. This is what Jesus is pointing to in His demonstration, and what God says about us through the work of Jesus, we are washed and are clean "every whit." There is not spot or blemish in us because we are a beneficiary of Christ's victory over sin, death and the devil. It is important to understand that inspite of our feelings of worthlessness due to our depraved and sinful nature, that God is not imputing our sins onto our account. Satan tries to get us to take our sin's guilt back unto ourselves, for he is the accuser. He tempts us and entices us with all manner of things in order to try to deceive us into looking within our evil nature and away from that which God has declared about us through the cross. Let us remember that the devil has no power to change the effects of the cross of Christ, but he can and wants to convince us that our sin debt is still our responsibility.

He tells us, "you must do better in your walk with Christ, you must not do this, you better do that, you are too big of a sinner for God to forgive, your you envy, you lust, you withdraw, you this, that and so on.

All the above is true of most of us, and as a matter of fact, the accusations that he rails against us are not half the story. God knows our evil hearts, He knows what is in us, and that is precisely why He came to make us "clean every whit." Only the blood of Christ is able to make us clean and nothing else. It has made us clean and that is what Jesus is wanting his disciples to understand very clearly in his session with them.

Do you know that Christ has washed you clean in His blood which He shed on the cross?
Do you believe that you are completely clean through His shedding of blood on the cross?

We must understand, know and believe this aspect of salvation before we can go to consider the rest of Jesus' teaching that is before us. May He help us to believe that we are entirely clean so that we will truly be able to "see."

Tomorrow: What is Jesus meaning when He told Peter that once a person is clean, one need only to wash their feet, what does He mean when He told them to go wash one another's feet even as He has washed their feet and what does it mean that "happy are ye if you do these things?"

We will prayerfully seek those answers tomorrow as we meet here again.

In Christ's forgiveness we rest today,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 26 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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