Dirty Feet

Can we agree having people touch your feet is awkward? I’ve never gotten a pedicure and one of the reasons I don’t want to is it just seems awkward to have someone I don’t know be messing with my feet. I don’t even know what goes on during a pedicure, but I can assure you I would feel very uncomfortable whatever it is. A few months ago I hurt my foot playing basketball and when my wife finally convinced me I should go to the doctor I felt bad that he had to touch my foot and look at it and feel it. The pain was forgotten about in the awkwardness of having someone else messing with my foot. I may be alone or in small company on this Island, but in either situation a pedicure or the doctor there is a sense of vulnerability to having people mess with your feet.

The other day during a Bible study we read the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet from John 13. In verse 6 Jesus starts a dialogue with Peter.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7 Jesus answered him, ‘What I’m doing you don’t realize now, but afterward you will understand.’ 8 ‘You will never wash my feet,’ Peter said. Jesus replied, ‘If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.’ 9 Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ 10 ‘One who has bathed,’ Jesus told him, ‘doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.’

I don’t know how many times I have read, heard, or even taught this passage, but this time this conversation hit me. Jesus is washing the disciple’s feet; something that would have been very awkward. This was a job usually reserved for a servant and likely someone you didn’t know that well. The disciples had spent the last 3 years traveling, eating, sleeping, and living with Jesus. This would have likely made the disciples feel pretty vulnerable. As I thought about this I started thinking; if I were there I would immediately start playing back the day and thinking of how I would have walked differently and stepped more carefully had I known Jesus would be the one to wash my feet. Then this conversation between Peter and Jesus happens and it was like God was shining a spotlight in my heart, I need to stop being so vague in my conversations with God about my sin and be specific.

See, Peter says, “Jesus if I have to be washed wash all of me.” Jesus replies, “You’re already clean.” In church culture we often talk about giving our life to Christ, surrender your whole life to Jesus. This isn’t wrong. We are called to do that in Romans 12:1 and many other places. The problem is, I think we use that as a shield sometimes. We talk in big vague statements like “I Surrender All” because if we were more specific we would feel uncomfortable and awkward. Peter says, “Jesus clean everything” and Jesus says, “I already have, your clean but we need to deal with this area of your life.”

Once you believe the gospel, that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23) who deserves Hell (Romans 6:23) but Christ died to save you (Romans 5:8) and trusting in Him is all it takes to be saved (Romans 10:9), you are clean. From head to toe you have been washed and cleansed from your sin. As we go through our Christian life we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and awkward and let Jesus wash our feet. What I mean by that is, let God work on specific areas of your heart, specific sins that need to be dealt with. Don’t just be general and vague in your struggles, be specific and targeted in the areas Christ is cleaning. Yes, we need to surrender our lives to Christ, but we also need to be specific about what that means. Are you giving your life to Christ but not what you watch as entertainment? Are you giving God your life but not your time? Are you surrendering everything except your secret sin?

Allowing God to work in specific areas of your life can make you feel vulnerable and awkward, especially when we seek accountability and help from other Christians, but it needs to happen. We’ve been cleansed, now it’s time to let God wash our feet.