I am amazed by how scripture comes to life in different ways when we read it. I'm certain I've read or heard this section dozens of times in my life, and yet as I read it this time, in preparation for writing, what stood out and so profoundly impacted me is how Peter had to humble himself to allow Jesus to wash his feet. How true this has also been of me in my life and relationship with God.
I am so often insistent on fixing things in my life through my own efforts; I have tried to get my own junk together before allowing Jesus in, as if I can make myself less of a mess and more acceptable to him. But the reality is that Jesus sees it all anyway, in spite of my best efforts to clean things up, and he insists on washing me just as he did Peter – whether or not I am willing.
My pride gets in the way of what Jesus has been sent to do. And until I can humble myself – get over myself and admit that I need help, even help I am unworthy and undeserving of – my pride prevents me from living in full relationship with Jesus. My own stubbornness and determination are what cause the frustration of feeling distanced from God. Surrendering to Jesus by humbling myself and letting Jesus into the fullness of the mess I am is where real relationship with God begins, and where cleansing, restoration and forgiveness close the chasm that threatens this relationship.
Friends, let's humble ourselves today and invite Jesus into our messy lives, permitting him to make clean what we cannot, despite our best efforts. Our culture has taught us so well to take care of ourselves and not rely on anyone else. Let us model this messiness and dependency on Jesus for those around us, that they might recognize the need to humble themselves too, inviting Jesus into their lives so that they too might experience his forgiveness and cleansing.
Lake Ridge Community Church