Pour It On
John 13:3-9 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!”
As we celebrate the holiest week in our Christian faith, it is fitting to reflect on the meaning of the season. Amidst the pageantry of Cantatas, Easter bonnets, colorful ties, egg hunts, and chocolate bunnies, do we forget the sacrifice of the lamb? In Passover, a lamb was sacrificed for the Seder meal, but Jesus was the lamb who gave his body and blood for our sins.
In John’s account of the last supper, he places focus on Jesus’ teaching through the washing of feet. When Jesus approached Peter to wash his feet, Peter didn’t get it. He didn’t understand. As Christians, are we not like Peter? Do we have faith, but lack the understanding to follow that faith? If Peter can miss the point, certainly we can.
Recently, I read the book Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene and the writer makes this point about Peter as well. He says Peter was an “all or nothing” person. At first, he refused to let Jesus wash his feet then, when the Lord told him that he must cleanse them, he overdid things in the other extreme. He was enthusiastic, but missed the message.
Many of us celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday, but do we fully grasp the gift humbly given to us on the cross? It’s human nature to get wrapped up in our own needs and desires and forget that God has a plan in our lives. Sometimes, we can get discouraged in our faith because we can only see the things we want, and when God doesn’t provide them according to our plans we abandon them. It is at this point that we should remember that all things are in His power. He has a plan and part of faith is submitting to that plan. Peter didn’t get it at first, but the church was built on him.
This past Sunday, my pastor spoke after our Easter musical. He asked a thought-provoking question. What if everything we understood about Christianity ended with Palm Sunday? Jesus was welcomed with much pageantry and was declared the King by many. It was a huge celebration.
What if our faith was a great big celebration on Sunday and disappeared during the week? We would miss the lesson of servitude Jesus taught with the foot washing. We would miss the Grace and Salvation delivered on the Cross. As large of a celebration as Palm Sunday was, Jesus was sacrificed on the cross within the following week. He was alone. The people who celebrated His arrival were gone when the party was over.
God’s Grace extends the offer of cleansing to each of us. Rather than hand God a laundry list of demands, let’s remember to thank him for the care and planning he has already given to our needs. As we celebrate this Holy season, let’s take the time to serve others, forgive others, forgive ourselves, and accept the gifts given to us on that day.
When the Lord approaches you to wash your feet, Let him.