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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”—John 13:5 (NKJV)
Many years ago, I worked as a shoe salesman. Not just any shoe salesman. . . a children’s show salesman. If you’re wondering what the difference is, let me answer that for you.
When an adult goes into a store to be fitted for some shoes, they’ve thought the process through. They know another person, most likely a complete stranger, is going to be inches away from their feet. They prepare for this intimate encounter by showering, inserting odor-eaters, and doing everything to make that part of their body as presentable as possible.
Not so with the average child! They aren’t thinking like their moms and dads. Their feet are unfiltered when they come to you. They come straight from hours in the sandbox and other interesting places. In my career of fitting children for shoes, I’ve smelled and touched things that (thankfully) defy description.
As colorful as this season of my life was, I still keep it in perspective—I never had a “case” that compares with the conditions of biblical times. In those days, just about every man, woman, and child went about in skimpy sandals, transforming their feet into magnets for filth. Dust, mud, trash, animal waste . . . it was everywhere and inevitably got on everyone. Add a constant flow of arid-induced sweat and odor and you can imagine how “colorful” the average foot was in Christ’s day.
Feet got so soiled that many households had a servant assigned to wash them before they entered. Guess where that job landed on the social ladder: the very bottom, the lowest of the lows, and the last thing any servant would sign up for.
This makes it all the more amazing when we consider that Jesus, on the night before He was crucified, willingly washed His disciples’ feet! We cannot sugarcoat this. Jesus took things to a whole new level here. He was going places and touching things His disciples undoubtedly considered as “off limits,” especially for their Master. Yet, in this act of washing their feet, Jesus showed that there’s nothing too nasty for Him to touch and cleanse.
The same is true for us—His love and devotion towards us knows no bounds. There’s nothing in us or on us that He’s unwilling to touch and wash . . . nothing! What is that thing for you? Why not extend it to Him right now?
DIG: Why was washing feet such a big deal in Jesus’ day?
DISCOVER: What is the spiritual significance of this washing?
DISPLAY: Look at your life as you would look at yourself in the mirror? What does Christ need to wash in your life? Make a list of the areas that could use a scrub and pray over this list. Ask the Lord to do a work in your life in these areas. Consider fasting for a few days and seeking the Lord’s will and cleansing.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.