Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to title the blog post. Is this one click-bait worthy? Or just a horrible attempt at wordplay?
Either way, here we are.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months. A couple weeks ago, I re-read John’s account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in chapter 13.
If you grew up in the church, or have been around for a hot minute, then you have undoubtedly heard this story. Jesus shows us what true humility looks like by washing the feet of his disciples.
Yadayadayada. Heard it a thousand times. Cool, thanks John. Moving on.
Except this time **cue the Word of God being living and active…** I didn’t read the same story I have read/heard hundreds of times. This time, I saw Peter.
Peter asks, in what I assume is a confused and rhetorical tone, “Lord, do you wash my feet?!” Then I continue his sentence in my mind, “Ah, heck no!” And after Jesus gives an answer that I can only imagine Peter doesn’t hear/listen to, he replies, “You shall never…“
When I read that, it hit me – this seems to be Peter’s attempt at humility. He cannot imagine the man he has been living with and watching work miracles for so long bending down to wash his feet. How could this man – the man that Peter declared as Messiah, the One that had the words of eternal life (John 6:68) – how could he ever wash Peter’s feet?
It’s as if Peter, in the most backwards way possible, was trying to protect Jesus from the humiliation of wiping the bottom of his gross feet. Again – Peter’s false humility.
Peter had no idea what he was denying himself by not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. Peter was fighting against the opportunity to allow the Savior of the entire world – past, present, and future – to literally wash over him with water AND the Word. Because, honestly, he was probably too proud.
Sometimes the stance of humility is not not receiving something, or putting yourself down, but rather allowing others to serve you and lift you up because you are incapable of knowing/doing/being everything.
We try to put off this air that we are here to help everyone but that we never need help. We’re the servants, never to be served. But the truth is, we do need to be served.
We need people to tell us the truth.
We need people to remind us of who we are.
We need people to pick us up when we are down.
We need people to wash our feet.
May we never be too proud to say, “You will never wash my feet.”
May we, instead, be people that say, “Thank you for seeing that my feet are dirty and for offering to help.”