Wednesday, May 24, 2023

          We go back to the scene in John 13 just before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  As the Lord was washing the feet of the disciples, Peter put up a personal protest.  We do not know anything about the reactions of the rest of the disciples but Peter made his feelings clearly known.  First, he expressed dismay over what Jesus was doing.  Second, he denied that Jesus would ever wash his feet.  Such a thing was unthinkable.  No way and no how was Peter’s take.  The Lord responded to these two protests.  He said, ““Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8b).  In only one statement, Jesus declared what He was doing and why.  He was not going to change His plans or actions.  And the Lord left it to Peter to decide his next move.  But the washing would continue.  And Jesus would do it.  He would wash His disciples and welcome them into everlasting fellowship with Him.
            At last, the breakthrough came in verse 9.  Peter seemed to grasp the great spiritual truth that Jesus was attempting to teach by actions and symbols.  Peter, in his own words, said, “’Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’” (John 13:9).  What a change!  All this from a man who did not want Jesus to wash even his feet!  Peter seemed ready for a full bath—from top to bottom, head, torso and toes.  This disciple wanted to be clean—spiritually clean, free from the stain of sin and the world that had seeped into his life and ways. 
            Peter opened his life to all that the Lord was offering.  In typical Peter fashion, he suddenly became excited, emotional and animated about what Jesus was doing.  For a man who did not even want to be in this line, he was suddenly ready to elbow his way to the front of it.  His reaction makes us wonder how eager we are to embrace what the Lord has for us.  Are we eager to be His?  Are we excited to walk with Him?  The Lord often speaks to us as we work through His Word, pray, worship and serve Him.  He speaks through the busyness of the day and even the silence of the night.  He may come seeking to wash us or to freshen us in some way.
            Peter went from dismay and denial to consent and capitulation.  “Wash all of me” was his plea.  Though his words were simple and spontaneous, he seemed to be saying I want to give all of myself to you.  I hold back nothing.  I hand everything to you, Lord.  Take all of me.  I am yours.  That is an act of surrender and submission.  We are keeping nothing in reserve or restraint.  Peter, suddenly, was all-in.  It would take this all-in, nothing-held-back posture for him to make it and even survive in the years to come.  His decision was a no-turning-back one.  From the little we know about him following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, he would face headwinds and hardships.  Tradition suggests that he was crucified too—upside down. 
            No half-hearted, half-way disciple could or would have made it through that kind of testing and tribulation.  An “all of me” kind of disciple was necessary to survive what was on the way.  Even today, we see trials and battles.  Some of these things come because of our faith. Some of these matters test and refine our faith.  But we cannot make in through any of these things unless we are sold-out like Peter was.  We need an “all of me” mindset and posture to face what comes against us.  We need to know whose we are so we can lean into the winds of adversity and testing.  Submission, surrender and abandonment may not be culturally attractive words or strategies.  But these realities are essential for a faith that works and sustains us.  Following Christ is not based on doing the minimum that is required or only what we can enjoy and embrace.  A discipled life is 100% surrendered and submitted to Christ and His ways.  Peter seemed to have realized this.  May we see it too.  Have a great Wednesday!              

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