Peter said to him, “you shall never washed my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”-John 13:8
How often do we resist what we most need?
Jesus used ritual during the Last Supper because he knew physical actions help us to remember. He was not only providing verbal instruction in living a life of love, but showing his disciples physically. Peter was a pretty literal guy. I imagine he was probably the last one to understand the message beneath the message. Watching Jesus stoop to clean the disciples’ feet, he resisted Jesus, wanting to communicate that he needed nothing, or alternatively, that he was unworthy to be cleansed. But Jesus knew that Peter needed to be reminded of a deeper cleansing, the forgiveness of his sins.
Baptism is a one-time event in the life of a Christian, whether at infancy or as a believer. Symbolically, we go down into the water in death and are raised in purity to new life. Sometimes, we forget the truth of our baptism. We need regular reminders of our new purity and of our ongoing dependence upon the forgiving work of Jesus.
Jesus told Peter, “Without receiving my cleansing, you have no relationship with me. If you choose to rely upon yourself, you cannot rely upon me. It is your choice, but you cannot do this on your own.”
I began by asking, “How often do we resist what we most need?” How frequently do our words, thoughts, or actions communicate our belief that we can manage life on our own? How often do we downplay our dependency upon God’s forgiveness and grace? Today, remember your baptism, and remind yourself that you cannot save yourself.
Jesus, I often try to be fiercely independent, acting as if I do not need anything from you and trying to manage life on my own. Yet my sins continue to accumulate and I become overwhelmed by my brokenness. Remind me again that I need to come daily to the river of your grace and mercy. Amen.