Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Was this a different view of Jesus than Peter had had before? He was used to looking up to Jesus or falling at His feet, bowing before Him. He himself had proclaimed Jesus as the Christ. He had gone out at Jesus’ bidding to let down his nets or to go and preach and heal and minister. He had taken the bread from Jesus’ hand and just kept passing it around to a multitude of people. He had served Jesus in a lot of ways up until this point. He recognized His greatness and His position and followed his Master everywhere.
But now Peter is looking down as Jesus is kneeling at his feet. Here was his Lord and Master, a strong man, indeed a God-man, someone to be honored and obeyed, and yet He’s the one with the basin of water and the towel. So what did it take for Peter to submit? Even though Jesus was the one in the humble position, stooped down washing feet, surely it must have taken something on Peter’s part to allow Him to do so. Surely it took humility and an emptying of self to allow such a thing to be done, to allow Jesus, of all people, to serve him.
But Jesus had chosen to wash the disciples’ feet. He did it willingly, just as He willingly went to the cross so He could cleanse us from our sin. And so the offer is there. But we have to choose to accept it. We have to allow Jesus to cleanse us and make us whole. We have to humble ourselves and allow Him to do His work in us. We have to be served, in a sense, by our Savior in order to receive what He would give to us.
Peter resisted at first. Maybe it was pride on his part. But maybe it was just total disbelief that Jesus would take on such a menial, degrading task. But Jesus was willing to do anything for those He loved. And He demonstrated that in many ways, big and small. So though we may feel unworthy ourselves or see the task as beneath our Lord and King, let us be willing to accept the work of Christ He willingly did on our behalf.