I’m not a big fan of most commercials; generally speaking I find them quite annoying. Right now there is a specific commercial running that drives me crazy, and you have probably seen it as well. It’s that commercial where a guy is sitting in front of his TV and his kid walks right in front of him wearing muddy galoshes. To make matters even worse, this particularly unconscious kid walks right across a clean, white carpet. It drives me crazy every time I see it; maybe that is because in our home everyone removes their shoes once inside. Nevertheless, sometimes commercials can provide for us vivid pictures of spiritual realities, realities that Jesus even taught about—and recently I came to see that this very commercial does this in dramatic fashion.
You may remember that before the Passover, Jesus washed the feet of all of his disciples (John 13.5-20). As we know, he first attempted to wash the feet of Peter, at which Peter immediately objected. Jesus responded by explaining that if Peter wanted to be identified with him, then it was necessary for Peter to allow him to cleanse Peter’s feet. Upon this requirement, Peter suggested that Jesus wash his hands and his head as well (i.e., all of his unclothed body). It was at this moment that Jesus made a very interesting statement; in verse 10 Jesus remarked, “The one having been bathed has no need except to wash the feet, certainly you are completely clean” (my translation). Later Jesus affirmed that all of his disciples (except Judas) were “clean” (exact same word) because of his teachings which they had received (John 15.3). Simply put, since Jesus’ disciples had believed in him and his teachings, and since they would all come to know and trust in Jesus’ substitutionary death, then Jesus could speak of them as having been “bathed,” and thus in his eyes they were completely clean. In other words, the blood of Jesus would inevitably cleanse them of all of their iniquities—all of them, whether past, present, or future; consequently, all of their sins were paid for on the cross.
Yeah, but there were still those nasty feet, those muddy galoshes, if you will! Why the foot fetish Jesus? What’s the big deal since you have saved us, since you have bathed us, and since we are “certainly completely clean”; why focus on our feet? Well, let’s go back to that dreaded commercial. When the kid walks across the dad’s clean white carpet, does the dad stop loving his kid? Does the dad disown his child because of those muddy feet? Of course not, but neither is the dad willing to put up with a messy environment. As much as the dad loves his kid, that dirt and the grime still bothers him. Although he loves his child, he still wants to have a clean house. Demanding that kids help keep their home clean and orderly does not preclude a father or mother from loving their children—the two are not mutually exclusive, and so it is with Jesus. Even though Jesus loves those who have received him, he still is offended at the worldly grime clinging to our spiritual feet.
For those of us that have received Jesus as our Savior and Lord, Jesus has cleansed our souls of the full penalty for all of our sins. Nevertheless, every day we still walk around in this muddy sinful world. As we do its filth clings to our feet, and whether we realize it or not, it affects us. It affects our hearts, our minds, our attitudes, and our behavior. Try as we might, it is not possible to go through this life without this sinful, rebellious world constantly infesting our minds and hearts with how it thinks and acts. Paul put it this way, “Not that I have already obtained the resurrected life, or have already become perfect, yet I press on for that which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3.12). If Paul understood that he was incapable of sinless perfection, how much more so should we also recognize this inescapable fact for ourselves?
So the next time you find yourself worshipping the Lord or praying to him during your quiet time, as you are bringing him all of your hopes, desires, and needs, remember this simple picture—he sees you coming, and although he loves that you are running to him, the first thing he will want to do is clean that worldly grime from your precious feet. If we are not willing to first allow the Lord to clean a little of the world’s grime from us before we climb up in his lap, then we have forgotten what Jesus is really all about, which is holiness in his people. Instead, let us take some time and be like David, who while worshipping the Lord wrote, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Wash me and I will be whiter than snow” (Ps 51.2 & 7).
Contributed by Dr. Monte Shanks