They are amazing things, feet; they contain 26 bones, 33 joints, 100 tendons and over 250,000 sweat glands. This isn’t surprising as they’re used to support our whole bodies as we walk, run, jump, kick balls, cycle, and many other things. But in some cultures feet are seen as dirty things, which should be hidden at all times. In some cultures it can be a sign of poverty if a person is bare-footed or, depending on the footwear, a sign of wealth. In the West we’ve learnt that we must wear shoes. Even in the house we need to wear slippers. For many people the touching of feet is seen as something that we can’t even think about, let alone actually touch them. They’re seen as dirty, sweaty and smelly.
Feet were also amazing things when Jesus walked the earth. It was a time when the main mode of transport was to walk where you needed to go, with only a thin piece of leather on the soles of the feet to protect them. They would get dirty with dust and muck, and, with thousands of animals being transported to and from market, you can imagine the state of a person’s feet. They really would be dirty, smelly and stinking.
When people entered the house of others, one of the first things that would happen is that the slave of the master of the house would wash the feet of the guests. This was a sign of hospitality, and also a matter of hygiene. The master in no way would touch the feet of the guest, so the servant or slave would do the washing.
With this in mind we can start to see how Peter felt, when Jesus said He was going to wash his feet. Imagine! Here is Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords and the Son of God, approaching His disciples, who would have had really dirty, stinking and smelly feet, and He becomes their servant, and cleans away the dirt. When it came to Peter’s turn, he refused. So Jesus told him ‘if I do not wash you, you have no share with me’.
In dramatic contrast it’s impossible to imagine the sight John saw as he fell to the floor at the feet of Jesus, as told in Revelation 1; ‘His feet were like burnished bronze refined in a furnace’.
To think that John saw Jesus in all His glory and majesty - King of kings and Lord of lords - with eyes of fire, and hair white as snow, a sword coming from His mouth, and His robe brilliant white, draped with a golden sash! No wonder John fell to the floor as if dead.
It’s beyond words or explanation to realise that our King, Our Lord, the Son of God in all His glory and power, with feet like burnished bronze, would come to us, remove His royal garments and become flesh, wrap a white towel around His waist, bow down before us, and wash the dirt from our feet. What an amazing display of humility, love and compassion!
As Christians we’ve entered into the house of the Lord, and, in entering His house, are we prepared for the Son of God in all His glory and humility to wash us clean? And maybe, if we’re willing, not just wash our feet?
Prayer: Father, we give You thanks for sending Your glory to us in Christ Jesus. We thank You that He came to serve. Father, would You help us to allow our hearts to be cleansed by Him, and to let Him kneel down before us and wash our feet, so that one day we may see Him in all his glory and power, and kneel down before His feet of burnished bronze? Amen.
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