Walk with me into the Upper Room. It is the night before Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus picks up a basin of water, a towel, and pitcher. Kneeling before a disciple he washes the dirt of travel from his feet. Peter watches apprehensively as Jesus moves closer. Finally Jesus kneels before him. Unable to handle the scene before his eyes Peter jerks away (John 13:1-7).
“You shall never wash my feet!” he cries.
"Unless I wash you, Peter, you will have no part of me" (John 13:8).
What would elicit should a response in Peter? Peter is well aware that he is only a servant, and does not believe it is appropriate for Jesus to wash his feet. For Jesus to serve him in such a lowly way creates feelings of unworthiness in him. It is also hard for Peter to visualize Jesus as a servant, because he has only known Him as Master. Yielding to Jesus the servant is harder than yielding to Jesus the leader. Jesus, as leader, bears the weight of accountability. Jesus, as servant, asks, “Peter, I give my life for you, and now I wish you to give your life away for my sake.” The ball is now in Peter’s court, and Jesus asks him if he is willing to be accountable. It is time to see if Peter is ready or not to accept the responsibility of the call upon his life.
Just like Peter, we all deal with a sense of unworthiness, and a sense of pride. A lot of Christians try to get rid of pride without going the way of the cross. Without allowing Jesus to wash their feet and without a complete heart change of attitude, a Christian remains stuck in his own unworthiness. If he is a person who is concerned what others think of him, then his outward appearance is his greatest concern. The humility he might actually believe he has found in Jesus might be nothing more that pride. When faced with the true humility of the Master standing right before him asking to wash his feet, his own shallowness brings shame and he says, "oh, no, I am unworthy.”
Peter also can no longer control with his mind his love for the Master. This is the time that is must become a heart issue. When Jesus kneels before Peter, the humanness of Peter’s mind must yield to the calling of Jesus’ heart. If I am really a Christian who wishes to know the Lord intimately, I don’t want pride to be a part of my life. I really want to experience the humility of heart that Jesus expects. As humans we find it hard to absolutely surrender. We just don’t want to make the sacrifice. What we might not understand is that the sacrifice which is the hardest is the one that brings the greatest blessing.
Jesus kneels before you and before me. With basin and towel ready, he says, "Unless I wash your feet, you can have no part of me". Do we allow Him to have His way in our lives? I pray that we all discover the path of surrender. Because it is at that moment of surrender, we discover who we really are.