I have a few friends that hate feet. They are disgusted by them. Repulsed. These are the friends that I always wear sandals around and ask for foot massages. They are easy to tease.
In my curiosity, I have asked these friends why they are so passionately anti-feet. Their answer is all the same: Feet are gross. They are dirty. They are ugly. They are nasty. Though I have no animosity towards feet, I understand their repulsion.
Feet are not beautiful. They take a good deal of beating. They often smell. And being near the ground, they certainly get dirty.
In John 13, Jesus tells his disciples that he wants to show them the FULL EXTENT of his love. To do so, he takes off his cloak, wraps a towel around his waist, and begins to wash his disciples’ feet. When Jesus comes to Peter, Peter protests. “Absolutely not!” There is no way Jesus- King of Kings and Lord of Lords- is going to wash his feet.
Jesus says, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
Jesus says, “Unless you give me access to your ugliest and dirtiest parts, you will never understand my love.”
It is easy, in church, to hide our feet from Jesus and from one another.
It is difficult for us to give Jesus access to the parts of our lives that are dirty and ugly.
It is easy for us, in church, to want to hide our feet. We fear if people actually saw the dirtiness and ugliness of our lives, they would be repulsed. So we work very hard to keep our feet covered. To play church. To present our good side. To keep things on the surface.
But Jesus says if this is what we are doing, we don’t get it!
The full extent of God’s love meets us in our dirtiest and ugliest parts. This is where his love and grace is most powerful. This is where God truly washes us clean. This is where we begin to understand what Jesus is really all about.
And then Jesus says we are to wash each others’ feet. We are to give one another access to our dirtiest and ugliest parts. And this is where our love for one another is to be on display. This is where grace and forgiveness washes us clean.
If you want to know the full extent of Jesus’ love, don’t hide your feet!