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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Hands Off

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. ~John 13:8


Foot-washing was a common and acceptable practice in the first century. It was a gesture of courtesy and kindness to wash the feet of any guest who would enter into your home. Typically, a servant in the home was assigned the task of washing the feet of a guest. This was a good hygienic practice, since people wore sandals and the roads were typically dusty, dirty, and strewn with garbage and animal matter. Jesus did something that was totally unanticipated by His disciples: He arose during dinner, took a towel and basin of water, and started to wash the feet of every one there. However, when he got to Peter, Peter refused to let Jesus wash him. In fact, Peter told Jesus to not wash his feet or any other part of him. He was telling Jesus, “Hands off!” Of the many important lessons contained in this passage, one of the key ones is the importance of constant, spiritual cleansing for us to maintain fellowship with the Lord.

There is the closeness in fellowship.

The Lord desires that we have close fellowship with Him. Close fellowship is where we spend time in the Scriptures and prayer. It is fellowship where time constraints are not a factor, where distractions are removed, and the worship of the Lord is done with a heart that is overflowing in love and adoration for Him. Close fellowship is what the hymn writer wrote in “In the Garden”: "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as I tarry there, none other has ever known.” Close fellowship is nearness to the Lord and enjoying being with Him always.

There is the clash in fellowship.

It takes work, effort, and transparency for us to maintain close fellowship. For almost every Christian, we find ourselves clashing with the Lord more than we are getting close to the Lord. Our busy schedules clash with the need for more time. Conflicts that we have with other people result in a clash between us and the Lord. We find ourselves slipping, and we are walking in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. Ultimately, sin that arises in our life clashes with having a holy walk with the Lord. The clash is most evident when the Lord speaks to our heart about an area of our life that has been neglected, and we say “no” to the Lord. We do not want the Lord to touch that area of our life. Like Peter, we are telling the Lord, “Hands off, Lord!” When Peter said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet,” he was telling Jesus, "You can’t touch me!" Peter’s pride was clashing with the Lord’s desire for him to draw closer to Him.

There is the cleansing in fellowship.

Jesus told Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “If you don’t let Me wash you, you cannot have fellowship with Me.” As we walk the dusty and dirty roads of this life, our feet get dirty. Our feet are a symbol of our walk and fellowship with the Lord. Dirty feet, dirty hands, and dirty hearts do happen. And when this happens, our fellowship with the Lord is adversely affected. We might get used to the dirt, but the Lord wants us to be clean. Constant and daily cleansing of our life is an absolute must in order for fellowship with the Lord to be right.

Take time for the Lord to wash you this morning. Don’t let your sinful pride cause you to have a hands-off attitude towards the Lord. Let Jesus touch and wash you so that fellowship with Him can be restored and blessed. Not hands off, but hands on!

Have a close-up God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Psalm 17-20

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