Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our Gospel reading from John 13 describes Jesus as the Lord and Savior, which he is, but also as the one who washes his disciples' feet, a job usually reserved for a servant of low status. It is especially telling that, when Simon Peter was approached by Jesus with a basin and a towel, he first refused to be washed. He would rather have dirty feet from walking in the dusty street than to have his Lord wash his feet.
Jesus' response was that if Simon Peter didn't allow it, he would have no part in Jesus. Peter's response swung from one end of the spectrum to the other, in that he suggested that Jesus should wash his hands and head as well.
While Peter's response does indicate a willingness, and even a desire, to be cleansed by Jesus the Lord, he has failed to recognize that Jesus already had cleaned him, through the Word and through his very presence. Jesus responded that Peter didn't need a whole bath. He just needed a little touch-up of his feet.
The Christian, engaged in fellowship with Jesus, hearing his word, basking in his presence, is clean. In some sense, though Christians confess they are sinful by nature, through and through, we can also confess that we have been washed by Jesus. We don't have to bear the filth of our previous associations. We don't have to earn more cleansing. We have been made holy.
Many in our world would like to mock us for such a confession. Christians seem o fall prey to all sorts of selfish and sinful attitudes. We sin against God and others. And sometimes we even seem to take delight in it.
Yes, we do. We need to have our feet washed by our Savior. Otherwise we, who are clean and walk in the holiness of God, will still leave dirty footprints all over the place. We need to have our feet washed.
This is the whole point of receiving God's grace in Word and Sacrament, as often as we can. We don't want to track up the world. After all, we have been washed by God's Word and are ready to be presented before God in his perfect heavenly realm. But as long as we are walking in this world, we need to be washed, at least our feet, by our Savior.
Jesus tells us later that we are to love one another. Let's don't track up their nice clean floors.
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