John 13:9

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord not only my feet but also my hands and my head!”-John 13:9

Peter remained resistant.  Jesus pressed in when Peter tried to get out of the foot washing, reminding him of the importance of their relationship, yet rather than simply accepting the words of his Lord, Peter doubled down.  Put yourself in the room. What do you see?  Peter was guarded. For me, the word “huffy” comes to mind.  The other disciples anxiously watched their interaction. They knew Peter could be a hothead. How would Jesus respond to Peter?  Jesus, remained kind but firm, gentle but insistent.  He never lost sight of his purpose even when he was challenged.

We could consider Peter’s words in a few ways.  Perhaps he recognized the realities of what Jesus was saying.  Maybe he was just being thick (Peter could be a blockhead), saying what he thought would make Jesus happy.  Perhaps he was being sarcastic as a way of covering shame.  I can almost hear him, “If this is so important, why not go even further Jesus?”  Peter’s ill-timed humor was intended to derail the intimacy of the moment, but Jesus did not take his bait.

Like Peter, each of us puts on false masks intended to cover our vulnerability and shame. Many times, our behaviors—for example, sarcasm, anger, or sullenness—drive people away or short circuit intimacy, but praise be to God, Jesus persists.

Jesus, Thank you for your persistent love.  You press in even when we seek to escape from your intimacy.  Like Adam and Eve, we attempt to hide from you, believing it is better to be alone with our fear and shame than to be vulnerably present with you, yet you never fail to ask “Where are you?”  Help us to come out of hiding into the light of your unfailing love. Amen.

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