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Volume 22 - Page 154 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
"Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? . . . . . Thou shalt never wash my
feet" (13: 6, 8).
It has been pointed out in The Companion Bible that the double negative here
employed by Peter is too strong for human nature, and that wherever it was used by a
human being, the speaker never fulfilled his word. Peter used it three times, viz.,
Matt. 16: 22, 26: 35, and John 13: 8.
The Lord's reply to Peter overwhelmed that impetuous soul with dismay, and led him
to go to the other extreme. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me" (13: 8). In
effect Peter replies, "No part with Thee! O my Lord, rather than that, I will submit to
anything", for he says: "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head"
The Lord's gentle answer to this outburst contains the pith and marrow of the doctrine
of sanctification we are here seeking to expound. It will be necessary to depart from the
A.V. a little in order to give the emphasis that the Lord intended:--
"He that HAT BEEN BATHED needeth not save to WASH HIS FEET, but is
CLEAN EVERY WHIT" (13: 10).
Let us take the two statements separately:--
(1) He that hath been bathed is clean every whit.
(2) He needs no further cleansing than the washing of his feet.
There is a designed contrast between the bathing and the washing. The one has been
accomplished once and for all, and covers the whole person. The other is a continuous
process of cleansing that part which becomes soiled through contact with the road while
walking through the wilderness of this world. The initial sanctification looks back to that
one offering, never to be repeated. The continuous cleansing is the daily ministry of the
Word of God, applying, in all its wide and wondrous power, that gracious work on our
Be it noted that Judas was present at this washing; nevertheless he was not clean,
neither had he any part with Christ. Washing by the water of the Word will never make
one fit for glory: it is only of power when one is already saved and sanctified by the
blood of Christ. It is surely as fundamental as the atonement itself that "no man can by
any means redeem his brother". Yet regarding this foot-washing the Lord says: "If I,
then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's
feet" (13: 14). Our initial salvation is not by example, but by expiation, but this washing
of the feet is an example: "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done
to you" (13: 15). Here is a ministry of love open to all who serve Him.
Does the contemplation of our high calling make us proud or boastful? Should it not
rather be accompanied with "all lowliness and meekness"? In full consciousness that He
was about to "go to God", the Lord laid aside His garments and stooped to perform the