Peter was shocked. Jesus their master, with a towel around His waist, was stooping down and washing the disciples’ feet. This job was reserved for the lowest of the lowly servants; it was just not right for Jesus to be doing it. How could the others even be allowing Jesus to wash their feet?
“Lord,” he exclaimed, “are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied,” You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“NO!” Peter protested, “You will never ever wash my feet!”And Jesus responded, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to Me.”
So Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and my head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus responded, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean– but not all of you.” John 13 6-10 NLT (slightly altered)
Peter, of course, was the impetuous, outspoken disciple, but I think that the rest of the disciples, and we ourselves are in complete agreement with him. It’s not right for the Lord of all to be doing the lowest servants’ work! But if having our feet washed by Jesus means that we belong to Him, by all means, wash every bit of us so that we really belong!
I think the key to this exchange was Jesus’ initial response to Peter–“You do not understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
Many times in our own lives, we look around us. “Lord,” we cry, “this is not right. This should not be happening! Why, Lord?”
And I believe that Jesus’ answer is still the same. “You don’t understand now, but someday you will. In the meantime, trust Me. I am still in control, and I love you.”