On Being Made Clean-Lent 4, 2015

on being made cleanJohn 13: 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

Peter. Peter. Peter!  Open mouth.  Insert foot.  Didn’t you get it from the verse before this?

Oh dear.  Slow learner.  All heart, no head.  All zeal, no comprehension.  All passion, no perception.

Take a breath, Peter, and know the folk wisdom of God giving us two eyes and two ears so we will be quick to see and hear, two feet for walking well…but only one mouth since if we had two mouths, we’d be down for the count with both feet in mouth instead of walking with Him.

Yup, it’s true.  God wants us to learn before speaking.

The disciples have been made clean—as a whole and as a group–because of their having learned from Jesus about the ways of God.  They’ve seen the Father in Him.  (That’s kind of the picture of those who bathed at home before coming to the table, only their feet would be dusty from the road.)

Individually, however, they would need to have their feet washed as a picture of their individual sins being washed clean.  Jesus says,

Not every one of you is clean. 

Why did He say that? Well, Judas, though he had been part of the group, had lots of passion, but no willingness to serve Jesus by learning from Him.  Judas had no understanding of the future because he didn’t listen long enough before acting.  If he did and if he had a true and loving heart instead of just passion, he wouldn’t have agreed to betray Christ.

Judas’ individual sins would never be washed clean because he would never repent them.  He would go on to betray Christ, then he’d confess to the wrong people, and then he’d kill himself.  The dust was still all over his feet in a figurative sense.  He was not clean.

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Give it up for Lent: Speaking and acting without knowledge.

Put it on for Lent: Being made clean by confessing your sins to God and finding forgiveness in Christ

For further thought:

  • Read Matthew 27:1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
  • How is this different than repentance?
  • How does confessing sins to religious leaders never substitute for being washed by Christ?
  • Read 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Why can God forgive in ways people–even religious people, priests, pastors, rabbis–can’t?
  • Why must confession be to God first and foremost?  Who defines what sin is?  Who are all sins ultimately against?

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Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 21, 2015

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