It was just an innocent question really, but oh so profound.
“When is Jesus going to wash my feet?”
I had started telling my youngest the bible story where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. I explained who they were and asked him why Jesus would wash their feet. His reply was sweet and beautiful. “Because He loves them.” I told him he was right, and explained why it was so important for Jesus to wash their feet now. I spoke of the little time that Jesus had left on earth, how He knew that He would be dying soon. I spoke of Peter’s objection and how Jesus replied. My stepson listened attentively and then asked when Jesus was going to wash his feet. It caught me off guard but I knew where I was going with this story. He knew that Jesus died on that cross but he never knew why. He never knew about the betrayal. He didn’t know about Judas. He couldn’t have fully understood what the cross would mean for the rest of his life.
“Hold on, we will get to the part about Him washing your feet.”
We read about the Last Supper, and how Jesus knew that someone was going to betray Him. My stepson was astonished and shocked. But in the next second, he looked down at the bible and pointed to Judas, knowing it was him before I ever uttered his name.
“He’s the bad guy. Him right there.”
“Yes, he is. That is Judas.”
We read how Judas turned Jesus in for money, and I could tell this made my stepson sad. I explained how people didn’t like Him, how they didn’t believe that He was the Son of God. We talked about how Jesus wound up on the cross.
“How did he die?”
“Well, the people weren’t really nice to Him when He was carrying that cross. And it hurt Him hanging on the cross. They had to put nails in Him to hold Him up there. But you know what? Remember you asked me how Jesus was going to wash your feet?”
“Well, the cross is how Jesus washed your feet. It’s how He washed all of our feet. Jesus suffered and died to forgive us of our sins. Jesus was a perfect man; He never sinned or did anything wrong. He always listened to His father and never hurt people. Do you think He should have died on that cross?”
“Who should have died on that cross?”
“That’s right. Judas was the one who sinned but Jesus took His place. Jesus took the place of all of us so that we could go to Heaven. That is how He was able to wash the feet of all of mankind. He did it with His blood by dying on the cross, by taking our place.”
We talked more about His love, and how we still get to go to Heaven even though we have been bad because we love Jesus. Because He loves us. My stepson was right when he said that Jesus washed their feet because He loved them. He loves all of us, and wants us to know that we too can have our feet washed. We can be clean before Him by allowing Him to serve us with His grace, by opening our hearts and our minds to receive His love and care. His love didn’t stop at the cross; it wasn’t just for the people of His time but for all people throughout the land… for all time.
Whatever you are holding onto, whatever you feel is too dirty for God to take care of… let it go. Whatever is holding you back from letting Him stand before you… whether it’s shame or sin… whatever it is… Jesus loves you for who you are. He doesn’t care how dirty your feet are. He doesn’t care about the broken roads you have walked on, the callouses that have made you hard, or the notion that He is too good to stand next to your sinfulness.
Jesus loves you. He made a way for you when He carried the cross. He took your place on the cross so that you can stand beside Him, and He beside you.
The tears… oh, the tears in my eyes. Lord Jesus, thank you for this beautiful grace. These stories were not just meant for my stepson… they are a reminder to everyone that has ever doubted your love, your grace, or misunderstood the extent of your gift.
Thank you Jesus for washing my feet, day in and day out. I may not feel worthy, but your love for me gives me worth.