As a Children’s Director I’ve done many skits washing kids’ feet, identifying whose feet are whose, grabbing gummy worms out of chocolate pudding – with feet, all as object lessons to help kids learn the story of when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to show us how to love others, how to put others first, or how to not think too highly of ourselves. I love my job.
Today as I read the story something different comes to mind. Why did Peter say, “no”? The way I read the text, Jesus had already washed a few of the other disciples’ feet. Something was obviously going down. Jesus didn’t waste any of his actions. It appeared that he used every moment to teach his people about who he was or how to love others. So why did Peter interrupt this ‘lesson’ with an emphatic, “NO”? At first I think he did it because he thought this was such an inappropriate chore for the Son of God. Then I think about how I might have reacted. I probably would have said no as well, but my motives would have been, “This is inappropriate because I can do it myself.”
Oh my goodness, I hate to ask for help with something I think I should be able to do myself. It makes me feel weak, lazy, incompetent, and incapable. But when I really examine myself it makes me feel like I am not important. This is true, how I really feel, but Jesus wants me to realize that it’s crazy thinking. When I read the story and how Peter said no to Jesus I think, “Wow, that was stupid. Jesus was trying to teach you something. Why would you say no to that?” Then I realize how I do that everyday. I say no to depending on Jesus for my strength, for my hope, for my wisdom. I think I’ve got it covered on my own. I don’t need to ‘bother’ him with my needs until I get in a real mess. I think today Jesus is trying to teach me – don’t say no to me. I can be your strength, I can be your rock, today and everyday. Lean on me. I am always with you. I will be there for you in the big things and the little things. I can even wash feet.