Completely Clean

March 12, 2022

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean. (John 13:9-10).

Washing the feet of the disciples was more than a gracious and hygienic courtesy of the host. Just as the Passover was more than a commemoration of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, but a symbol of the power of God to deliver His people from slavery to sin and death, so washing the feet of the disciples was a symbol of cleansing and purification. Again, Peter missed the point and jumped to the opposite extreme of requesting his entire body be washed.

Because our Lord is gracious and patient, He took the time and went the extra mile to explain to Peter and the other disciples the meaning of His act. From the practical point of view, Jesus said to Peter, “The one who has taken a bath does not need to take another bath, he simply needs to have the dirt that he has accumulated from his travel during the day washed from his feet. The rest of his body remains clean.” From the spiritual point of view, He painted a beautiful and powerful picture of salvation, just as baptism is a beautiful and powerful picture of salvation.

Jesus said, you are clean. Since the act of washing Peter’s feet was symbolic of spiritual cleansing and purification, Jesus said the disciples had been spiritually saved; they were completely cleansed and purified. As such, they didn’t need to be saved again every time they had sinned. Salvation cannot be repeated. It is a ‘once-for-all’ act of God through Jesus Christ.

(Hebrews 9:11-14) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

(Hebrews 10:5-10) Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.” Then I said, “Behold, I have come - in the volume of the book it is written of Me - to do Your will, O God.” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Salvation cannot be repeated. What is needed is daily cleansing from sin through confession and repentance (Philippians 2:12; 3:12-14). Amen.


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