Lesson 79


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"

13:7 Jesus answered him, "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later."

13:8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!"

Jesus answered him, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me."

13:9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"

13:10 Jesus said to him, "Someone who has bathed only needs to have their feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you." 13:11 For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, "You are not all clean."


 Today's Lesson 

As Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, there is an incident that is recorded between Jesus and Simon Peter. Peter is commonly displayed as the disciple most willing to venture information, the most brash and outspoken. He seems to be a natural leader among the inner circle. He often shows insight that comes from God, but just as often he is shown saying something impetuous and misguided. Today's Scripture falls into the later category.

 

Peter begins by questioning why the Lord is washing their feet. "Lord, do you wash my feet?" It did not seem appropriate to Peter that Jesus should be washing the feet of the disciples. As we noted last week, such activity was normally assigned to the person with the least status. It should be noted that none of the disciples, including Peter, offered to take over the task from Jesus. They did not feel it was appropriate for Jesus, nor did they desire to take His place in this work.

 

The response that Jesus makes to Peter's question appears very mild. "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later." This statement could be made to almost everything that occurred during the earthly ministry of Jesus. His disciples rarely understood what He was trying to accomplish. They would not understand, for the most part, until after His death and only then because of the influence of the Holy Spirit.

 

Peter's response was impetuous and brash. "You will never wash my feet!" (Here's a little hint that we can all take from this lesson. It's never a good idea to tell God "You will never do such and such." Especially in the face of His obvious desire to do just the thing that we demand that He not do!)

 

The response of Jesus is measured even though Peter has overstepped his bounds. "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me." Jesus does not rebuke Peter's outburst. He simply tells him the consequences of such foolishness. And Simon Peter, in a complete reversal and with equal brashness proclaims, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hand and my head!"

 

Peter's heart was right; it was only that he was not listening very well at first. Once again, like many of us, he thought he knew what Jesus was trying to accomplish. He made an assumption that was obviously wrong. But, to his credit, once Jesus confronted him, Peter was willing to change.

 

Jesus ends this passage with another reference to His betrayal. "Someone who has bathed only needs to have their feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you." Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him. And yet He was willing, for the sake of the example He was showing them, to wash Judas' feet as well.

 

Even when we have been cleansed, we are still dependent on Jesus. Jesus serves those who are His own. He is constantly in prayer for us, constantly assisting us, constantly strengthening us. We are never independent of our Lord and Savior. Are we willing to allow Him to wash our feet? Are we willing to allow Him to help us in our need?

 

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