In John 13 we read the account of Yeshua washing the disciples’ feet. This happened during the time of the feast of Passover (celebrated this year at the beginning of April). We note that even up until this very day, in this annual ceremony, before the Passover meal (seder), the person leading the Seder washes his hands and the hands of others. Yeshua went even further and washed their feet! Why would He do this, and how did Peter react?
Peter initially objects to Yeshua washing his feet, something normally done by the lowest servants. I can relate to his negative reaction. Having someone you respect and look up to wash your feet is a humbling experience. I can’t imagine how I would feel if that person was the Lord. Yet once Yeshua explains, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me,” Peter enthusiastically receives this service (John 13:9).
After washing their feet, Yeshua returns to the table where they continue to eat and talk. He asks if they really know what he’s just done for them. Yeshua then shares with His disciples the reasoning behind his actions – that we should serve one another regardless of our station.
However there is an additional dimension even beyond humbly serving. In verse 18 Yeshua makes a troubling statement, “… He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.” He is referring to the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9. “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Yeshua said He just washed the feet of someone who is betraying Him! It’s one thing to forgive “regular dirt”. It would be another thing altogether, to forgive “dirt” that a friend might hurl directly in our face!
Is it possible that this could happen to us? Do we ever feel betrayed? And do we ever see the dirt clinging to another disciple of Yeshua? If so, may God give us the heart of grace to follow Yeshua’s example and obey His words: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:13-17).
This article appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, April 2018, and reposted with permission.