SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
TEXT: 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
THEME: Maundy Thursday Service
“My feet stink, I can smell them from here. If I had known that Jesus was going to wash my feet, I would have washed my feet before I came. I don’t want him to see how dirty my feet are. I didn’t cut my toe nails.” I wonder how they cut their toe nails in those days. Did they have pedicures in those days? According to Wikipedia people have been pedicuring their nails for more than 4,000 years. In southern Babylonia, noblemen used solid gold tools to give themselves manicures and pedicures. In ancient Rome, military commanders also painted their nails to match their lips before they went off to battle. “I should have used the pumice stone in the shower.”
Jesus caught Peter off guard. There is no cover up for his feet. What eternal consequence would there be for what his feet revealed? Jesus was just about to see everything about his feet. It wouldn’t have been a problem if this were a household servant whose job it was to wash feet. There might be some implied confidentiality clause that prevented them from talking about what they discovered about your feet. But Jesus was not some humble servant, He was his superior, his teacher, the object of his need for approval. “Then not just my feet but all of me.” Relationship with God is not about what our feet look or smell like. It is not something we can merit, or achieve, or earn or make ourselves look good enough. Relationship with God is about our relationship with Christ and how Jesus makes it possible for us to reunite with God as parent, Creator, and sovereign. Being in relationship with God is about our relationship with Jesus. The washing of our feet is something Jesus wants to do for us as part of his relationship with us. We have to humbly present ourselves, as we are, stinky feet and all, to allow Jesus to serve us.
When we stop trying to earn our way into heaven, when we stop fussing with our own self-righteousness, when we stop obsessing about keeping the law, when we stop rationalizing our behavior to justify our sin, when we stop comparing ourselves to others (because that guy’s feet are really ugly) just to make us look better, then we can instead concentrate on our relationship with Jesus, which allows us to live in relationship with God. How does having Jesus
wash our feet bring transformation in our lives? Our relationship with Jesus, gives us an identity as the people of God. This is a Lamb of God moment, where Jesus marks the door post of our lives to signal for the spirit of death to Passover. We are a people who are focused in living, not on how to escape death. We are in relationship with the source of life, whose ways form community, whose dreams are for equity and whose desire is for peace. We are in a relationship with a God who liberates, frees and creates. To be loved so profoundly enables us to be changed and be more loving towards others. To extend forgiveness to others as God has forgiven us, to be patient as God has been patient with us, to have grace as God have been gracious with us. To serve others as Jesus has washed our feet. What Jesus does transforms our
relationship and draws us closer to God. The examples of Jesus are not about more rules, to wash people’s feet or to
do more one-another-ing. But is it is about being renewed, it is about being given life, it is about being in a supportive and caring relationships with Jesus, that draw us closer to God and express itself in relationships of acceptance,
forgiveness and love.
The washing of feet is about our relationship with Jesus. There are always times in a relationship when we are vulnerable. There are times in a relationship when we have to allow the other person do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. There are times in a relationship when we need to let someone love us allow that love to shape our lives and by doing so, we are able touch the lives of our neighbor with love.
We would over look Jesus’ stinky feet, Jesus over looks ours because this is
not about being judgmental, Jesus’ relationship with us is about love and
fostering loving relationships, stinky feet and all.