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Dirty Feet: Our Filth, His Joy

This post is sponsored by Burke Care and is written by Cameron Woodall .

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so, he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciple’s feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:3-5 NIV

The stage was set. The Passover meal was being served. The upper room. Satan’s plan was unfolding. Judas’s heart already bowed to it. Betrayal was imminent. Jesus would be on the cross the next morning and dead the next afternoon. Yet He knew something no one else did — the Father had put all things under his power. The King reigned. We might imagine His next move to be a show of power, but instead, Jesus put on a display of love. He did something so astounding for a Rabbi that it bordered “offensive.” He became the lowest of servants, a dirty foot washer.

Not having lived in first-century Judaea, it can be difficult to appreciate the circumstances. Sandals were commonplace and roads were not like they are today. Feet got gross. But the shocking nature of the scene is not the profound grossness of the disciples’ feet, it is the identity of the One who bent down to wash them. At ground level, this is an intimate moment, but when we zoom out there is a larger story being told. When Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, He did not rise in domination as we might expect, “rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).

There are no permanent smears of shame when washed by the One who removes stains. 

Cameron Woodall

This washing was not the place our sin was removed but displayed a humble love that would take Him to a much lower place where He would; the cross. There, the spotless Lamb would take our spots and drink the cup of God’s wrath in our place. There, the One who holds the governments on His shoulders held our offensiveness in His hands. There, Almighty God, took our filth, so we could take His righteousness. There, the King to whom all peoples will soon bow stooped low for those whom He loved. There, the Radiance of God’s glory allowed His face to be disfigured and marred, so ours could be sprinkled clean. Indeed, Jesus has washed something far dirtier than Galilean’s feet, He has washed our hearts. Those in Christ are no longer filth-laden orphans, slaves to their sin, they are forever adopted and precious sons & daughters. 

“…you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
– 1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV

If all this is true, and Christ truly is King with all things under his power, there is no puddle of sin you have walked in that Jesus cannot wash. There are no permanent smears of shame when washed by the One who removes stains. If life feels like an incessant struggle to hide what you think is most dirty, Burke Care would love to walk alongside you and together gaze at the humble, foot-washing King.   

Application:

  1. Are there areas of your life that feel unwashed? Or that the washing of Jesus is not enough?
  2. Do you struggle to walk in the Light because you feel dirty?
  3. How could your life change if you functionally believed that all things are under Jesus’s power?
  4. Are you eager to lower yourself and be the first to serve others as Christ did?

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