Recently, after taking communion I heard, “You are already clean”. It was certainly a most puzzling statement from Holy Spirit and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’d like to take you to chapter 13 of John where Jesus told his disciples they were clean.
In the passage Peter becomes indignant at the thought of Jesus washing his feet. For a “manly man” (which I suppose Peter to be), his protest could have arisen from being uncomfortable with what Jesus was doing. It seems an intimate act. Or maybe Peter felt like he should be washing the feet of Jesus.
Whatever was behind Peter’s motive for protest turned around quickly because Jesus said there was no part with Him unless they were washed by Him.
This leads to verse 10 which seems like a riddle, “Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, and is completely clean. And you (my disciples) are clean….”
I was completely baffled by this statement. If one has bathed why would they need to wash their feet? Shouldn’t they be clean from the bath? Then I began thinking about the culture which they lived in. Their bodies were clean but their feet were dirty from walking around in the dirt all the time. Therefore, with clean bodies all they would need was to wash their feet and they would be clean. But then Jesus added, “But you are already clean…”
With this statement, I believe Jesus kept talking and teaching his disciples – it just wasn’t recorded. So it is up to us to engage with what we read and dig deeper. Jesus wasn’t just talking about washing feet. He was mixing the physical washing of feet with a spiritual truth. He was looking into the future when his death would purify and clean all humanity from the sin- the original sin we inherited from Adam’s decision to walk his own way apart from God.
And from this sin, Holy Spirit was letting me know “you are already clean”. And not just me but all humanity. Jesus’ death and Resurrection solidify that we are already clean, already forgiven, already free, and already innocent -again.
Yet we’ve been walking – living and we still need to wash our feet. We have already been made clean but there are parts of us which are not yet clean. As we walk, living out our daily lives, our feet mingle with the dirt and become dry, dusty, soiled. And for this, Jesus who came to serve and not be served, is willing to lovingly wash our feet and further purify our lives.
This Easter, take a moment to think about being ‘already clean’. Then look down at your feet and allow Jesus to gently wash them. ~Anne
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