Staying Close to Christ, Part IV John 13:10-11
In our study of John 13 we are witness to events in the upper room where our Lord and His disciples have eaten the last supper of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is on his knees before the disciples, with towel and basin in the process of washing the disciplesí feet but upon approaching Peter he is told, no doubt in Peterís bold way: Thou shalt never wash my feet.
It is reasonable to think that Peter considers this a humble statement but Jesus thinks otherwise and rebukes Peter telling him:
If I wash thee not you will have no part with me.
Now this statement communicates a deep spiritual principle for in it we learn that only washing by Jesus Christ opens the door to fellowship with God.
Therefore a sinner has no means whatsoever in self-cleansing.
God simply sees a self-cleaned sinner still clothed in filthy rags.
We also learn in other scripture that the only cleansing agent applied by Jesus Christ to sinners in this washing process is His own blood.
Now Peter, at this time, operates in the physical but Jesus speaks in the spiritual.
Jesus desires Peter to think spiritually of everything Jesus does in the physical.
And therefore Jesus said to Peter: If I wash thee not you will have no part with me.
Jesus Christ is telling Peter in this passage that fellowship with him requires Peter to submit his feet to Him which symbolically means Peter is to submit himself to the word of God on a regular basis if he expects to maintain fellowship with Christ.
Peter is to have the heart of the Psalmist who desires the cleansing power of God by the washing of His word:
Jesus is telling Peter, I am living out in the physical what is required to happen in the spiritual.
It is what the psalmist of Psalm 139:23,24 expressed also,
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
That is why it is so important to daily study God's word so God can do the washing away of the dirt of our daily walk.
God does not take us away from the dirt of this world.
Jesus does not rebuke his disciples for having dirty feet.
As long as we are in this world our feet will get dirty.
God knows that but he has provided a remedy to remove the dirt, and that remedy is the word of God.
Choose to not yield yourself of the washing of the word and fellowship with Jesus Christ will be broken.
Jesus Christ leaves no room for doubt when he says to Peter: If I wash thee not you will have no part with me.
Now again we are given to witness the impulsiveness of Peter as he goes from never, never in John 13:8 to:
Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head, in John 13:9.
Peter's emotional pendulum swings fully from the left to the right.
It is always hard for Peter to find middle ground.
Lord, don't stop with my feet only, wash my hands and my head also!
Before, he wished to tell the Lord what he could and could not do.
Now he tells the Lord how things should be done.
How human Peter is. We are so quick to give an opinion, even giving opinions to God when in fact we ought to be still!
How the blood of Peter still flows in our veins!
So Jesus in John 13:10, Ö.. saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
He that is washed signifies the washing of the whole body.
He that is washed means he that has been bathed, that is, his whole person has been cleaned.
He is saying that acceptance in the beloved person of Jesus Christ requires a full bathing of the whole person.
But after that cleansing there is a partial cleansing that must take place because of the daily walk the believer makes in the way of this world.
If your whole body is washed and you walk in the dust and dirt of the way, all that is needed to be washed is your feet.
Jesus is saying that only a partial washing is needed if the full washing has taken place.
But full washing does not replace the need for a daily partial washing as long as the dirty way of this world is traveled.
Our daily contact with the evil of this world causes the spiritual affections of our heart to be dulled.
And therefore a partial washing must take place to keep those spiritual affections strong.
Peter, you have been washed, but as long as you remain in your natural body a partial washing is needed to maintain fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
John has this same message in 1 John 1:6 when he says: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
In other words: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and have dirty unwashed feet, spiritually speaking, we lie, and do not the truth:
Jesus is telling Peter: I expect you to maintain continual dependence upon me if we are to maintain fellowship.
The road of this life is rough and dusty and dirty and I know that in your strength you cannot wash anything away by yourself.
Cleaning the road will not maintain fellowship.
I do not intend to clean the road!
I do not intend to get rid of the dust and the dirt!
I do not intend to clean up the road so your feet will not get dirty!
And I don't expect you to clean it up either!
The road is beyond cleaning.
I don't rebuke you either for having dirty feet.
Having dirty feet is the way of this world.
I simply expect you to come to me daily knowing that your feet are dirty and you need them washed by the water of my word.
My word will not clean the world.
But my word is intended to clean you every whit!
That is my plan for you to maintain fellowship with me as long as you are in this world.
And I expect you to come to me daily because you get dirty daily and I will do the washing by the water of my word.
Now in verse 11 Jesus points out that not all of the disciples are clean and in saying this Christ refers to Judas Iscariot.
He wants us to know that Judas was not washed, Judas was not saved.
He has not given himself to Jesus Christ to be fully bathed in his righteousness.
He would manifest his lost condition in less than one hour as he goes forth to sell the man, Christ Jesus, whom he pretended to be his Master.
One commentator has said that he was not a sheep of Christ becoming unclean, but a dog returning to his vomit!
For a time he maintained a form of outward godliness but he was always a stranger to the washing of Jesus Christ.
Now in John 13:12 we read, So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?