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Archive for January, 2016

muddy feet

I’m not a big fan of most commercials; generally speaking I find them quite annoying. Right now there is a specific commercial running that drives me crazy, and you have probably seen it yourself. It’s that commercial where a guy is sitting in front of his TV and his kid walks right in front of him wearing muddy galoshes. To make matters even worse, this particularly unconscious kid walks right across a clean white carpet. It drives me crazy every time I see it; maybe that is because in our home everyone removes their shoes once inside. Nevertheless, sometimes commercials can provide vivid pictures for us of spiritual realities, realities that Jesus even taught about—and recently I came to see that this very commercial does exactly that in dramatic fashion.

You may remember that before the Passover Jesus washed the feet of all of his disciples (John 13.5-20). As we know, he first attempted to wash the feet of Peter, at which Peter immediately objected. Jesus responded by explaining that if he wanted to be identified with him then it was necessary for Peter to allow him to cleanse Peter’s feet. Upon this requirement Peter suggested that Jesus wash his hands and his head as well (i.e., all of his unclothed body). Jesus’ reply is very interesting; in verse 10 he remarked that “The one having been bathed has no need except to wash the feet, certainly you are completely clean” (my translation). Later Jesus affirmed that all of his remaining disciples (except Judas) were “clean” (exact same word) because of his teachings which they had received (John 15.3). Simply put, since Jesus’ disciples had believed in him and his teachings, and since they would all come to know and trust in Jesus’ substitutionary death, then Jesus could speak of them as having been “bathed,” and thus in his eyes they were completely clean. In other words, the blood of Jesus would inevitably cleansed them of all of their iniquities—all of them, whether past, present, or future; consequently, all of their sins were paid for on the cross.

Yeah but there were still those nasty feet, those muddy galoshes if you will! Why the foot fetish Jesus? What’s the big deal since you have saved us, since you have bathed us, and since we are “certainly completely clean”; why focus on our feet? Well, let’s go back to that dreaded commercial. When the kid walks across the clean white carpet, does the dad stop loving his kid? Does the dad disown his child because of those muddy feet? Of course not, but neither is the dad willing to put up with a messy environment. As much as the dad loves his kid, that dirt and the grime still bothers him, and although his loves his child, he still wants to have a clean house. Demanding that kids help keep their home clean and orderly does not preclude a father or mother from loving their children—the two are not mutually exclusive, and so it is with Jesus. Even though Jesus loves those who have received him, he still is offended at the worldly grime clinging to our spiritual feet.

For those of us that have received Jesus as our Savior and Lord, Jesus has cleansed our souls of the full penalty for all of our sins. Nevertheless, every day we still walk around in this muddy sinful world, and as we do its filth clings to our feet, and whether we realize it or not it affects us. It affects our hearts, our minds, our attitudes, and our behavior. And try as we might, it is not possible to go through this life without this sinful rebellious world constantly infesting our minds and hearts with how it thinks and acts. Paul put it this way, “Not that I have already obtained the resurrected life, or have already become perfect, yet I press on for that which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3.12). If Paul understood that he was incapable of sinless perfection in this life, how much more so should we also recognize this inescapable fact for ourselves?

So the next time you find yourself worshiping the Lord or praying to him during your quiet time, as you are bringing him all of your hopes, desires, and needs, remember this simple picture—he sees you coming, and although he loves that you are running to him in devotion, the first thing he will want to do is clean that worldly grime from your precious feet. If we are not willing to first allow the Lord to clean the world’s grime from us before we climb up in his lap, then we have forgotten what Jesus is really all about, which is holiness in his people. Instead, let us take some time and be like David, who while worshiping the Lord wrote, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Wash me and I will be whiter than snow” (Ps 51.2 & 7).

 

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