[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
Washing Feet by Mark Robinson
Read: John 13:1-20
Isn’t it interesting how passages of Scripture hit you differently at different phases of your life? John 13 is one of those passages that has impacted me in different ways. As a matter of fact, the more life experience I have, the better I think I understand what this passage is all about.
When I was younger, I never quite understood Jesus’s strong reaction to Peter’s refusal to allow Jesus to wash his feet. It seems quite natural (and even appropriate) for Peter to try to stop the Son of God from stooping to the role of the lowest of household servants. If Jesus washing the disciples feet was some kind of discipleship pop quiz, it seemed like Peter should have gotten 100%. However, Jesus pushes through Peter’s refusal, insisting that if Jesus does not wash Peter’s feet, Peter will have “no part” of Jesus. This was quite a strong reaction! When I was younger I always thought that was either a massive overreaction by Jesus or an indication of just how bad Peter’s feet smelled.
As I have gotten older, though, I have begun to understand the dynamics at play in John 13 a little better. As a parent, I have had many show downs with my son that go something like this: “Josh if you don’t _____________, then we can’t _____________.” In other words, if he doesn’t clean his room, I can’t read him a story; if he doesn’t do his homework, we can’t go to the game, etc. At one level, these interactions sound like overreactions. (Is it really worth disrupting fellowship in an evening over a few pieces of dirty laundry on the floor? Is one night of missed homework really worth missing the Thunder game?) However, as any parent will tell you, these kinds of consequences are not overreactions at all, because more is at stake than just laundry or math problems.
At its core, refusal to listen to the direction of a leader who loves you is an issue of control. Our sinful tendencies predispose us to want to control our environment and our situations. We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and on our terms. This level of control, however, is not ultimately good for us. We need to learn to submit to the right authorities in our lives. It is a part of growth as a person.
In John 13, Peter is trying to control Jesus: to tell the Savior what He can and cannot do. Jesus says, “Let me wash your feet.” Peter says, “No way.” Jesus says, “If I don’t wash your feet you have no part with Me.” Peter says, “Then wash all of me!” Jesus says, “Peter stop trying to control Me! You don’t need your whole body washed, just your feet. Trust me on this.”
- In what area of your life right now are you resisting the Lord’s leadership? Is there an area He wants to “clean” but you are still trying to control?
- Ask God to reveal to you the areas He wants to cleanse in your life.