Jn.13:8 – Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
I often think about an experience I had when I was about eight years old. My dad had a Tennessee Ernie Ford album with the San Quentin Prison Choir that I was strangely attracted to. I can remember going by myself into our living room and listening to this album. I would turn to the song that had these words;
“Whiter than snow, whiter than snow
Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”
I can still see the picture of the album cover with the prisoners in their prison garb and thinking about the spiritual cleansing they were singing about.
Today’s verse reminds me about that and the work of Jesus on the cross and the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Here are some words from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.
“It is certain Christ did not mean to exclude him from the apostolic office, if he should persist, through the deepest reverence for his Master, to refuse to let him wash his feet: this act of his was emblematical of something spiritual; of something that concerned the salvation of Peter; and without which washing he could neither be an apostle or be finally saved; therefore our Lord said, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. There is a mystical washing by the blood of Christ. It was the common custom of our Lord to pass from sensible and temporal things to those which were spiritual and eternal; and to take occasion from every thing that presented itself, to instruct his disciples, and to raise their souls to God. If the discourse was of bread, water, leaven, father, mother, riches, &c., he immediately changed the literal sense, and under the figure of these things, spoke of matters altogether spiritual and Divine.”
In today’s passage Jesus had dressed Himself as a servant and began to literally wash the dirty feet of the disciples. What was Jesus doing? He was obviously showing incredible humility but I believe He was mirroring the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit constantly comes to us in humility like Jesus did to wash and cleanse away the filth gathered on our “feet” each day. As we step into His presence He washes us and makes us new again and again. Jesus, wash my feet!