Summary: Looking at how Jesus' teaches on forgiveness through the washing of the disciples feet. This is the 42nd sermon in a series from the Gospel of John.
Foot Washing Forgiveness –Part Two (John Part 42)
Text: John 13:1-17
We’ve come back to John 13 this morning, and we actually looked at this passage last week, but we didn’t finish it. And if you were here last week, or watching online, you heard me say that Jesus took this opportunity – when He washed the disciple’s feet, to teach them about true greatness. He basically said to them that true greatness is not found in having the most things, or being the most powerful, or having the most authority or highest position. It’s actually found in serving others… it comes from service that’s born out of love. But also; if you were here last week, you heard me say that Jesus goes even beyond this, and teaches the disciples a deep, spiritual truth in all of this, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
So if you have your Bibles, and I hope you do, go ahead and open them up to John 13:1-17 (READ TEXT).
Now this is so interesting when you think about it. Peter’s appalled that Jesus would wash his feet. He’s troubled by the Lord doing the work of the lowest household servant. And so Peter was like, “Jesus, you’re my Lord, not my servant.” And the reason I say this is so interesting, because in essence; what Peter is saying here is, “Jesus, you’re my Lord, so You need to listen to what I’m telling you.” I mean… Peter, if Jesus is your Lord, what right do you have to tell Him that He can, or can’t wash your feet? But that’s exactly what Peter does in verse 8, “Lord You will NEVER wash my feet.” And isn’t this exactly what you and I do throughout our daily lives? “I’m not going to share the Gospel with ‘THAT’ person.”, “I don’t feel like praying today.”, “Ah I can miss one Sunday, God understands.”, “My anger and un-forgiveness towards this person is justified.” And on and on we go, telling ourselves that the commands of the Lord don’t really matter at all… telling ourselves that if Jesus were just in our shoes, He’d probably do the same thing.
Now remember; Jesus had already said to Peter, in verse 7, “What I’m doing, you don’t understand it right now, but you will later.” But then Peter doubled down and said, “You shall NEVER wash my feet.” But look at what Jesus says to him in the last part of verse 8 there, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.”
Did you catch the nuance there?
Jesus didn’t say, “If I don’t wash your feet.” He said, “If I don’t wash YOU.” And this is how we know that more is going on here than just Jesus giving the disciples an example of serving one another. Because of what Jesus says. In verse 7 He says, “What I’m doing, you don’t understand NOW, but afterward, you will understand.” Peter understood the outward picture. Jesus was washing his feet. Jesus was filling the role of a servant. Jesus was humbling Himself and showing love in action. Peter got that. But then in verse 8 He says, “If I do not wash YOU, you have no share with Me.” In other words, there’s another kind of washing that Jesus has in mind here. You know we just sang that hymn – “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Later on in 1 John 1:7 John tells us that it’s the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin.
So Jesus is saying to Peter, “Peter, if I don’t wash you, If I don’t wash away your sin. You have no share with Me. You can’t have eternal life, and you can’t be with Me in eternity if My blood hasn’t cleansed you from sin Peter.” “If I don’t wash you, you have no share with Me, because there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood… and Peter… buddy… you’ve sinned against an Almighty and Eternal God, and His justice demands an eternal sacrifice… So if I don’t wash you, you’ll pay for that sin for all eternity. But if I, the eternal Son of God, wash you, then My blood cleanses you, and redeems you, and pays the price that you could never pay.”
Of course Peter doesn’t understand all of that. Jesus just said as much in verse 7. You don’t understand it now… but you will. After the cross, after the resurrection. Then you’ll get it Peter.