Simon Peter of Galilee: I know what you’re thinking – a tough guy like me? Crying like a baby? But I couldn’t help it. After what I did… after what I didn’t do? He told me, you know? He said one of us was going to betray him and we were all going to deny we knew him, and I said, “Oh, no, Lord, I’ll never deny you! Even if I have to die with you!”
But he told me, he knew, that before the cock crowed twice this morning, I would. And he was right. I was worthless to him! I couldn’t even stand it for an hour. I couldn’t even stay awake with him last night, I couldn’t defend him…
But I guess he didn’t want us to fight. He said it had to happen this way. This, from a guy with power and authority like you’ve never seen. And this man, last night, got down on his knees and washed our feet (John 13:1-11). Like a servant. Like a slave. He knelt down in front of me with this basin and started to wash my feet. I pulled them back! The idea of him, touching my feet! My feet… my feet are filthy. They smell like the oldest, ripest piece of cheese you left lying around your kitchen for too many weeks. They’re caked in mud and dirt and God knows what. They’ve got sores…
But he said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” Okay, then, I said, but don’t stop with my feet. Wash my hands and my head too! But he just said, no, I was clean. And then he washed my feet like they were babies, like they were precious. He washed my feet like he loved them, and me along with them.
Everything he’d ever said made sense right then, because he loved me so much. I don’t understand it. I’m loud, crude, ornery, always charging in without thinking… but he loves me. There’s nothing I’ve done to make it so. I betrayed him tonight, as much as Judas. I ran like a coward. I lied about him, three times. (Matthew 26:69-75)
But just now, they brought him out and as he passed, he looked at me. He knew what I had done, but he looked at me with those eyes that see everything, and he still loved me. No matter what I do. It’s an amazing thing. And I’ll tell you something, that is love I’d die for.
So, how are you at receiving love and care from others?
It’s tricky, this giving and receiving thing – Jesus implies we have to be equally good at both.
Who do you let get close to you, close enough to see your flaws and blemishes?
Tonight, if you’re at a service that includes footwashing, are you going to let someone wash your feet? I hope so – and as that person is giving you that gift, imagine it is Jesus. And when you wash another’s feet, know that it is Jesus’ feet you are washing. And then you’ll “have a part” with him.