The scene was set for the traditional Passover meal. By the time Jesus arrived with the Twelve, the fragrance of cooked lamb no doubt filled the air. The table was set, and I suspect the wine decantated. There was however a problem with proceeding. There was no servant to wash the feet of those who were about to recline. It was then that Jesus got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Indeed, John tells us that he then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. Given the actions of their master and rabbi, it is little wonder that Jesus’ followers seemed somewhat embarrassed. It was Simon Peter who voiced their concerns. Then, in response, Jesus made this fascinating statement. “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean.” (John 13:10)
So, what did Jesus mean? I am guessing that all the disciples had got washed and changed before the big night. Yet, even as they walked between the public washroom in Jerusalem and the upper room their feet would have become soiled with all that had been deposited on the ground. However, on their arrival they would not have needed another bath, only between their toes cleaned!
So, what does this mean for us? Well, we praise God that, because of his grace, God forgives us from all our sin and shame as we exercise our faith in him. In fact, John says elsewhere that God even cleanses us from our unrighteousness. However, as we live on this earth we are challenged and even tainted by the things that surround us. Therefore, for this reason, we must come to God daily and ask that he would wash and cleanse us through his Word and by his Spirit.