The Cleansing Power of Jesus

John 13:1 – 8

It is not bragging to say the following principle applies to every Christian from time to time. If it applies to you presently it offers a delightful spiritual renewal.

Jesus Christ gathered His disciples for the last time in the Upper Room. He seized a teachable moment for them and us. It was the custom of the era that at a festive occasion the host had a servant who would wash the feet of the guests. Instead of having a servant do it, Jesus did it. The reason for this becomes apparent when the time in which it happened is understood.                                 

Guests would bathe before coming to dinner. However, raw sewage and trash littered the streets. By the time guests got to the place of celebrating, their feet were dirty and needed washing again.                     

When Jesus came to Peter he refused to let Jesus wash his feet. As always, Jesus began His illustrative teaching saying, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” Peter then showing his zeal said, “Well wash all of me.” Jesus said if you have bathed, all that is needed is for your feet to be cleansed.                                    

The spiritual application is this. If you have been saved, you don’t need to be saved again. However, even saved people get their feet dirty, that is, they sin. Walking in the world they become needy of a fresh cleansing.  We all have those times when we need to get contemporary in our relationship with Jesus and ask His cleansing.

This act was an enactment of 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The confession of our sins and the forgiving of them relates to salvation, the equivalent of the bathing in the story told by Jesus.

The cleansing “from all unrighteousness,” speaks of the renewal of fellowship with the Lord. Unrighteousness is literally minus righteousness, which are sins by Christians.

In Jesus’ account Peter over-responded, desiring to be bathed again. Jesus responded by saying those who have been bathed, saved, don’t need to be bathed, saved, again. They only need their feet washed, their unrighteousness, sins since salvation, forgiven. 

Believers can avoid frequent need of spiritual renewal by walking in fellowship with the Lord. 

When Giuseppe Verdi produced his first opera in Florence, Italy, the composer stood by himself in the shadows off stage and kept his eye on the face of one man in the audience —– the most renowned composer of the day, Rossini. It mattered not to Verdi whether the people in the hall cheered him; all he wanted was a smile of approval from the master musician.

At the moment of a decision look only for the approval of the Master, Jesus Christ. It is the best way to keep your feet clean. If you fail to do so, when you repentantly confess the sin you will find Jesus waiting with a basin of water and towel to cleanse you of all your unrighteousness.