Foot Washing

No. 13 - 06th November 2016

Oh dear, I have to confess I’m a bit of a procrastinator. We had a lot of our double glazing units replaced this summer, and of course I’ve left it to the last minute before touching up the paintwork. In order to get the old double glazing units out, the glazier had to dig a screwdriver in behind the wooden beading to lever it out. A lot of the beading snapped and everywhere he stuck the screwdriver in, the paintwork chipped right down to bare wood. Fatal in the winter rain. Fortunately, I did a really good paint job on the frames last year, so all I had to do this week was to touch up the places where the damage had been done.

During the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples, he was wanting to teach them something very important. In the Middle East, people would just wear open sandals on their feet, and you didn’t have to walk very far to get your feet dirty. So, when they met for supper, the custom would have been for a servant to come and wash their feet before they settled down to eat. Well, this time it seems there was no servant. So Jesus, the leader in the group, got a bowl of water and started to wash his disciple’s feet for them. Peter was feeling really uncomfortable with this and refused to let Jesus do it. “There’s no way you’re going to wash my feet,” So Jesus, who was trying to make a point about serving each other in love, said to Peter, “if you don’t let me wash your feet, then we have no relationship between us”. “Well, in that case” replied Peter, “don’t just wash my feet. Wash my hands and my head as well”. And what Jesus says next is interesting. “If you’ve had a bath,” he said, “then all you need is to have your feet washed, because you’re already clean. And you are clean – though not all of you”.

What he was saying to Peter is this, and it’s still true today. Peter, when you committed yourself to following me, my Father forgave all your sins. The slate was wiped completely clean. So now, all you need to do is to wash away today’s dirt. No grovelling, no beating of the breast, just a simple acknowledgement that you’ve sinned again. Job done. Like my paintwork, all it needs is a bit of a touch up. The secret is in having had a bath or a full paint job in the first place. And for Peter, that happened when he embraced everything that Jesus stood for.

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