I have been camping out in John chapter 13 this week. This is the chapter where Jesus washes his disciples feet. There is so much packed in to these verses. Well…there is so much packed into any verse, but here is where my tent is.
I am stuck on Peter’s interaction with Jesus. Jesus has just made his way around the circle washing his disciples feet one by one. Stripped down to his bare self, Jesus brings all he has to his friends.
What did Peter think as he watched his master take the tangible position of humility?
The last foot wiped with a holy towel. It was Peter’s turn. I can envision Peter interrupting Jesus with his words of, “No!, you shall never wash my feet!” I wonder what facial expressions Peter received from everyone else? I wonder if he surprised himself with his outburst?
I know I respond with those same words when I am about to receive from someone. I am quick to deflect. Like Peter, I retract my feet close to my body and say, “no!” If I do that with other people, I know I do that with God. This makes my heart sink.
Jesus responds to Peter in a way that has left my heart pierced. Jesus looks at Peter and says, “unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
I know that this stems from deep in me. Not receiving well is a heart issue. For me it’s a self-worth issue. When I dismiss someone’s gift for me, I am in essence saying, “don’t waste your gift on me. Save it for someone better.”
I have so easily forgotten that the point of washing the disciples feet for Jesus was to pass on something to be imitated. We are to “wash each others feet.” When we give to one another, we are showing the love that he asked us to imitate.
Service like washing someone’s feet, and giving, is humbling. It’s supposed to feel humbling. It’s the tangible gift of being a part of him. Washing someone’s feet is a tangible way of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
When Peter realized that his dismissal of Jesus’ act kept him from being a part of Jesus, he responded with the opposite extreme. Peter did not want to miss out on anything Jesus had for him. Peter surrendered and said, “then Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and head as well!”
I have spent too much time in disconnection. I want to take on the response of Peter and surrender. I desire connection as well as being a part of something bigger than me.
What road blocks do you have with receiving?
Tracee’s passion comes from her desire to be a woman after God’s own heart. She is a speaker and writer with a master’s in Professional Counseling. She has experience ranging from mentoring homeless men recovering from addiction to speaking to a room full of adolescent girls trying to figure out who they are.