From Resistant to Receptive [Part 1]


Are you ready for some good news?

Though it almost sounds blasphemous and certainly beggars belief, Jesus wants to serve you. In fact, you must let Him serve you.

Today’s Text: “Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”” (John 13:8–9, ESV)

Peter’s resistance to the servanthood of Jesus is, of course, understandable. Imagine letting Jesus mop your floor or dust the cobwebs in the corner while you watch. Foot washing was considered so menial that it was reserved for the lowliest servant in the house. If there were slaves in the home, the lowest ranking slave did the foot washing. Jewish slaves were not even allowed to wash feet.

In fact, there were only three acceptable contexts for  foot washing. 1) The Gentile slave washing guests feet; 2) Students washing a rabbi’s feet; 3) A wife washing her husband’s feet as an expression of intimacy.

No wonder Peter was appalled. Jesus was no Gentile slave -- He was the Lord. Jesus was no student – He was the rabbi. And, surely, Peter thought, Jesus couldn’t be like a spouse – so close, so intimate.

Why do we resist the Lord of glory washing our feet? It all seems too backwards. He is so wonderful and we feel so unworthy. He is so pure and we feel so unclean. We cannot grow deep in the Christian life until we recognize that everything within our flesh rebels against grace. We don’t understand perfect love. Grace isn’t fair and, our instincts tell us, life must be fair.

We, like Peter, must make a move that defies logic. We must let ourselves be served by Jesus. When Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you have no share with me,” Christ was referencing inheritance. It’s the same word that the prodigal used when he demanded of his father his “share” of the inheritance.

Why did Peter need to let Jesus wash his feet? Because if he couldn’t let Jesus wash his feet, how was Peter going to let Jesus die for him? If Peter couldn’t let Jesus wash his feet, how could he let Jesus fill him with the Spirit, use him to heal the sick and to change the world by the power of the Gospel?

So Jesus, in all His glory, has a much greater act of service in mind for Peter than foot washing – He has in mind the cross.

The Lord of Glory came to do more than wash your feet – He came to die in your place. He came to wash you of your sins. And that’s the Gospel!

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