“Mommy, did you know that Jesus is everywhere? He is so strong too. Did you know that he washed people’s dirty feet? Then he served people a Thanksgiving like dinner. He was so polite. After he did all those polite things, he died.”
I never know where these insights come from, but my sweet little 8 year old loves to spew information at me early in the morning. Good thing for me, I can use these insights in my blogs. I thought today was a perfect day to re-post this blog from the past.
What caught my attention that day was when Katie said, “Jesus washes people’s dirty feet.” Yes, he sure did. I knew that she was talking about the Last Supper where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and then offered communion to them. I am sure my daughter had been reading her Sunday School book. I knew the picture very well, but just what does it mean to me that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet?
John 13: 1-11 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
I love the beginning of this scripture where it says that the devil was prompting Judas. When I am doing something great for God, I can feel when evil exists. I can feel when people are placing doubt in the room. I know at that moment that I need to redirect my attention to God. Jesus saw this. He knew that the devil was placing evil thoughts into Judas’ mind. He needed to do something to make all the other disciples feel God’s presence. Washing their feet was a beautiful way to do this. The filth and dirt that were on men’s feet back then was outrageous. People didn’t have nice shoes to cover their feet, they had sandals. Some walked in their bare feet. There weren’t sanitary systems back then. There was filth in the streets. They walked in dirt, mud, waste and filth all day long. So for Jesus (our Lord and Savior) to bend down and wash their filthy feet – well, it probably seemed wrong to them. Jesus didn’t care. He saw passed their filth. He saw the beauty of the disciples’ souls. He loved them through the filth.
Peter doubts that Jesus should be stooping to this level. “No, you shall never wash my feet,” he says. Jesus stops him in his tracks. He tells Peter that he needs Jesus to cleanse his feet – to make him clean and pure again. This is just a foreshadowing of Jesus wiping away all of our sins. Jesus is subtly telling the disciples that He is able to wipe away their filth in their souls, but they need to allow Him to do so. We need to stay open to the fact that Jesus can see passed our filth.
“Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” Once again Jesus is telling the disciples that by asking for forgiveness of their sins, Jesus will wipe them away. We must be willing to give ourselves over to Jesus, and if we do, He will show us the pathway back to cleanliness. Judas wasn’t quite ready for this. Judas was still working and battling the evil thoughts within his heart. He was torturing himself about turning in Jesus. My guess is Judas knew it was the wrong choice. He probably had the yucky feeling I talked about yesterday in my blog. He knew that his actions were going to cause him severe problems later, but he probably didn’t know how to get out of the mess he was in. Jesus was offering him the chance at redemption, but Judas had allowed the devil too far down into his soul. Judas wasn’t willing to take the Grace that Jesus was offering him. In fact because he was so engrossed with evil, he probably didn’t even notice the chance at Grace.
Letting someone wash my unmanicured, smelly feet seems a little embarrassing. I cannot imagine what I would do if Jesus came into my life right now and offered to wash my feet. I hope that I would push aside my insecurities and let Jesus have at it! I hope that I would push away the shame of my sins and let Jesus cleanse me. I hope that I would realize that Jesus is offering me a chance at redemption and jump at it.
As I reflected back on this blog from the past, I realized my own Lent had been filled with doubt, fear and struggle this year. It was a tough one for sure. The Last Supper for me is time to look back and recognize what Lent has brought me. Even through my illness, my move, and my daily family life – I can still find God. He was with me during Lent. It was a struggle. Kind of like a tug of war battle between myself and God. I tried to take the reins, and then He took them back. I tried to solve the problems, then He led me to the solution. I tried to make family life seem “normal” during the move, then He reminded me that change is good. The thing about a challenging Lent is that God always shows me His light. He shows me that He is the only Way. I love that!
Lent is a time to reflect back on how we handle our struggles, our joys and our entire faith life. Lent is a time for change; change that will bring us joy. Judas showed me that we all are capable of turning our backs on God. Peter showed me that we are all sinful, but when we are rebuked by God it is our chance to change our life around. Two men during this Last Supper gave us two views at how to live out our faith. I can clearly see that I need to take some time to really think about what is blocking me from being completely and utterly cleansed by Jesus. I don’t want to be Judas and miss out on this beautiful experience. I want to be accepting and open to a change that only Jesus can provide.