Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” ~JOHN 13:8
I wanted to write this devotion prior to celebrating the Resurrection. It would have obviously been very fitting to write about this event at the same time that it actually happened. However, I was unable to do that. We were busy. I knew this devotion was still supposed to be written, but I felt a bit discouraged that it did not line up the way I thought it was supposed to. That changed when my Audrey came out of children’s church this morning telling us how Jesus washed his friends feet because they were dirty. You see, part of my devotion is a picture. I wanted to capture Marshall washing Audrey’s feet. We had not been able to do that, yet. Today, was the day to do it. Now, it would be more meaningful to Audrey. Now, she would be able to connect more dots to why her Daddy would be washing her feet. Not only did we get the picture, but we got the exact vision I had in my heart. The light was beautiful as it sparkled through the water while Marshall rinsed the feet of his precious little girl. God’s timing is good. While I thought the perfect time for this to be written was long past, He had other plans. This makes my heart happy.
During the week before Easter, I had the pleasure of serving alongside other precious women of God. We were asked to take part in a ministry called Water Angels. This ministry serves the homeless and at-risk people of Knoxville. That evening I ate with, sang with, learned with, and prayed with a group of beautiful ladies. Ladies who were hurting. Ladies who were there for nourishment both physically and spiritually. Ladies who needed the love and acceptance of a Savior. My good friend who had invited me to come, taught the devotion that evening. She taught on John 13. She taught about a leader who became a servant to his disciples and showed them how to love. Showed them how to lift others up above themselves. As she taught through this passage a striking truth came to my heart that I knew I needed to share with each lady there.
Many of us know the story. Jesus was with His disciples as they celebrated Passover just before He was to be crucified. He did something quite unthinkable and began to wash their feet. When it was Peter’s turn, he adamantly refused.
Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” ~JOHN 13: 6-9
It was the servant’s job to wash the feet of his master, not the other way around! Peter knew that Jesus was his teacher, his master, his Messiah. How could he let him belittle himself in such a way? Peter felt absolutely unworthy. Yet, Peter did not understand the heart of his master. He would in time, but just not yet. We learn that to be a true leader, one must become a servant. Love constantly thinks of others. We learn that spiritually it is Jesus and only Jesus who washes away our filth and shame. Who daily washes away the junk that we keep stepping in. But, we also learn that we have to cast aside any feelings of unworthiness and let him wash us! How many of us feel or have felt unworthy to come to Christ. Unworthy to accept his forgiveness. I mean, just think of all that we have done! This was pressing on my heart that evening as I sat and listened to these women who have so much baggage burdening their shoulders. I felt that they probably believed like Peter. How can Jesus forgive them knowing where they have been, what they have done, what they continue to do? How can they allow him to wash their feet? This is the beauty of our Savior. He is a gentlemen. He doesn’t force himself upon us but rather gives us the choice. We can hold on to our “humility” like Peter tried to do and not allow or even ask for Jesus to cleanse us. Or, we can be obedient and let him wash us! Don’t let thoughts of unworthiness keep you from receiving from the One who is worthy. He died for you. You are worth dying for.
We ended the evening by washing the feet of those precious ladies. Yes, we washed their feet! We also gave them hand and foot massages. One of them was 9 months pregnant! She thoroughly appreciated the love. She planned to name her baby girl Nevaeh. What a beautiful name, Nevaeh. It is pronounced nuh-vay-uh. If you didn’t catch it, it’s heaven spelled backwards. I thought that was just so lovely. Heaven. Lord Jesus, help us to be heavenly minded as we sojourn in this place. Help us to accept your forgiveness and know that hope is to come! This life is but a breath compared to your eternity. All our hardships here will cease. All our tears will be wiped away. Help us to have a servant’s heart and to love others well. Help us to think on these things. Amen.