Lent: Unless I Wash You

February 27, 2015

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:5-8

Jesus was a good guy wasn’t he? He’s everything we’ve ever wanted in a leader, king, friend, and father. Every word and deed was filled with a message. He worked hard to ensure his followers embraced values that would foster purpose and goodness.

In this passage, the Savior of the world was on death row and instead of requesting his favorite meal, Jesus got down on his knees and washed the dirty feet of his sinful followers.

The Message: Be Humble

Some of the most influential people I’ve ever met are those who fully embrace their brokenness and inadequacies as well as God’s incredible grace for them. They claim the dysfunction in their lives knowing full well that God is doing a good work in them. I personally don’t care to bond or commune with people who think they have it all together. Homes are hard to keep clean, marriage is difficult sometimes, kids are naughty, loss is hard, relationships can be messy and we have personal struggles. We’re not in heaven yet so there’s really no need to act like we have this all together.

The disciples were washed clean by their master and then had the privilege of bearing witness to the cleansing process in others.

The Message: You are free so that others can be

This is not about you or anything you have done or could do. This is about what Jesus has already done for you and what he is going to do through you.

How beautiful would it be if we lived in true safety and real fellowship with each other? What if we boldly embraced our hurts and hang-ups? I can’t help but think how strong and solid the body of believers would be if we were consistently a people of transparency and trust.

In this passage Jesus says “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

The Message: Trust me

Jesus, I will surrender my ugliness and shortcomings to you. I will invite others to bear witness to my pain and feel privileged that you still allow me to be a part of the salvation plan for others. Amen.

About the Author
  • Dr. Tara Boer is an associate professor at Dordt University, serving in the Social Work department. She is also a licensed mental health therapist for children and families, a wife, and a mom of four active young children.

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