When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” (John 13:6-9)
Relate: It seems like every time you turn around in the gospels Peter is blurting out something that almost makes you want to shake your head and say, “Peter, what are you thinking?” It isn’t so much that Peter doesn’t think first before speaking. It is more that the two seem to happen simultaneously. Whatever he is thinking at the moment… that is what is coming right out of his mouth. I know some people like that. I have to confess that I am often like that myself. An idea pops into my head and it is as if I am reaching forward to grab those words and pull pull back in before anyone hears the nonsense that just came spluttering out of my mouth. “Did I say that out loud? Oops. Really, it is not what I meant.”
It isn’t just here in the upper room Peter is doing this. Earlier Jesus asks, “Who am I?” Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Thirty seconds later he is rebuking Jesus for claiming He would have to die. Next chapter. Jesus climbs to up the mountain with the three. When they get to the top Peter sees Jesus, Moses, and Elijah in deep conversation. He interrupts: “This is great, lets build some monuments.” Seriously, Peter!?! Those two words appear in my head over and over again pretty much every time Peter opens his mouth.
But when I step back and think about it, there is another common theme when Peter speaks. Yes, his words seem to be an unthought knee jerk reaction to whatever is happening at the moment, but also he is always speaking out of a desire to honor Jesus. It is out of this desire that he says, “You are the Christ… You shouldn’t be killed… Lets build some shelters… Tell me to step out… I will never leave you…” and now here in the upper room, “Don’t wash me… Wash all of me.” In every case we see a good desire to see Jesus glorified, just misguided methods for how that is to happen.
React: Does God have my mind? The things I blurt out, are they God honoring or is it really all about me? Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet because He didn’t want to place himself above his Savior. He didn’t want to treat his Lord as a servant. When Jesus responds, “You don’t get it, if I don’t wash you, you aren’t mine.” Peter immediately answers, “In that case wash all of me.” If allowing Jesus to wash me is a sign that I belong to Him, then am I willing to let Him wash everything? Do I share Peter’s heart of surrender? He didn’t get the symbolism, and then he still didn’t get the symbolism but you do have to admire his heart. You can’t question that. What about mine? Would others be justified in questioning my own heart? Does Jesus have all of me?
God, take all of me. I have to admit that all too often my initial response is not honoring to You. All too often it is all about me, what I want, how I have been injured. Help me to bury that. Be first not just in my words and my deeds but also in my thoughts. Let everything else come in a distant second if it need compete at all. All I have is Yours. Let everything, even my hidden thoughts, be all for You. Let it all be honoring to You.