If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me. (KJV John 13:8)
It was the night of our Lord’s betrayal. He had desired to eat His last Passover with His disciples (Lk 22:15). He had no heart for spending the last hours before His death with the multitudes, or those with snaring questions and carnal requests. Even though He saw the wandering multitudes as “sheep having no shepherd” (Matt 9:36), He did not want to spend this time with them. Neither, indeed, did He seek to spend this time in the Temple, or the synagogue, or a wedding feast, or in the land of the Gadarenes where He had healed that poor demoniac. This night was reserved for His disciples, and no others would be welcome. Things would transpire this night that were intended only for those who loved Him enough to forsake everything for the privilege of walking with and being taught by Him. Jesus is like that. He does not spend a lot of time with some people, while He is desirous to spent a lot of time with others. There are a lot of fabled views of those with whom Jesus prefers to spend His time. However, the record is too clear on the matter to allow for human conjecture and speculation.
Early that evening, as soon as the supper was “ended,” Jesus rose from the supper “and took a towel, and girded himself.” Judas had not yet left, and was at the table with the eleven. The disciples beheld Him as He “poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (NKJV). One by one, He moved from one disciple to another, washing and drying their feet. Finally, He came to Peter, “and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” There is no record of Jesus ever doing this before. It apparently was a first, and Peter did not comprehend the action. It seemed out of character for Jesus, and Peter knew he was totally unworthy of such an act of humility being performed upon him.
Graciously, Jesus answered him. “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” There were implications here that were not, and could not, be seen by Peter that evening. Something very significant was happening, even though Peter did not know what it was. Still, driven by a sense of his own unworthiness, Peter cried out, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” It was too demeaning for the Lord. But Jesus left no doubt about the significance of the activity. “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” This was a decisive moment: one in which Peter would either be identified with Christ, or cut off from him.
There was no doubt in Peter’s mind now. He replied, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” He wanted nothing to do with having no part with Jesus. Still, there were some things that were not clear to him. Jesus clarified it some when He said, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet” (John 13:3-10). Peter offered no more objections, and Jesus finished washing all of their feet (13:12).
These words of Jesus are unusually strong, and are certainly worthy of much consideration. Two significant things were revealed, and they pertain to us today.
FIRST, if Jesus does not wash us, we can have nothing to do with Him. There must be no mistake about this. There is a certain pollution associated with being in this world that must be washed from us, and Jesus alone can remove it. This is contamination that occurs AFTER we have become His disciples – AFTER He has “washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Rev 1:5-6). One might call this post-Christian defilement. It is not the result of willful disobedience, or rebellion against the Lord. It is simply the result of being “in the world.” Earthly contaminants must be removed from us, with no part of this world clinging to us. Like the washing that took place the night Jesus was betrayed, only Christ can do this. But if we do not allow Him to do it, we can have no part with Him.
SECOND, those who have been cleansed from their sins do not require thorough cleansing again. The cleansing we experience when we arise and are baptized, washing away our sins (Acts 22:16) is never again duplicated. It was thorough, and is not required repeatedly. However, the part of us that touches this world, does need to be washed. It is a sort of spiritual foot washing that allows for the maintenance of sensitivity to the Lord.
There is a kind of thinking in the church world that leaves people relying on their original washing. They rarely consider how polluted their feet have become because of being in this world. The contaminants of worldly thought, ambitions, and assessments do not seem apparent to them. Their reasoning and their speech has been infected with the virus of carnality, yet they seem blissfully unaware of the condition. Their feet need washing! This is a circumstance that occurs to all believers.
The words of Jesus must not escape our attention. If He does not personally cleanse us of these defilements, we can have no part with Him. Men may argue against this, but this IS what Jesus said. Furthermore, He will not do this without our consent, anymore than He would wash Peter’s feet without His consent. Here is an area where improvement can be realized. It is something Jesus desires to do. Let Him do it!
PRAYER POINT: Father, in the name of Jesus I thank You for continued cleansing.