Now, let’s fast-forward . . . to the Last Supper. In the middle of the meal, Jesus does something unusual—he gets up, grabs a towel and a washbasin, and begins washing the disciples’ feet. (It’s safe to assume the sandals have already come off, this time around.) Follow what happens next:
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:8–9).
Simon—who Jesus renamed Peter—protested, because he knew who he had been, and in many ways still was. He knew how unworthy he was of Jesus. Jesus knew it, too. Furthermore, Jesus knew what would happen later that evening. He knew how badly Peter—and all of the disciples—would fail him. Jesus’ priority wasn’t the disciples’ past, present, and future failings. What mattered most to him, at that moment, was that the disciples take off their sandals and be served—cleansed—by him.
What Jesus says to Peter, and to all of us, is: It doesn’t matter who you’ve been, what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter how big a screw-up you are now—and no doubt will be in the future. What matters is: Will you hand over your life—all of your life, including the screw-ups—to me, so that I can begin this incredible lifelong reclamation project called Your Life in Me?
Jesus not only came to remove the eternal separation from God that Satan intended for us, but also all the temporary separations from God we put in front of ourselves every day. In case the disciples missed the point—and they likely did—an hour or so later Jesus tells them this:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you (John 15:13–16).
This is where a changed life really begins. Especially at first we want, and arguably need, to make laying down about the “negative” stuff—the things we know we need to give up for Christ’s sake. That’s why we’re spending most of this first week on those things. However, if we focus only on what we need to give up, it’ll probably never happen. We’re overwhelmed by the task. We know we can’t do it. And to be honest, we really don’t want to give some of it up.
For all those reasons and more, we need to grab onto what Jesus promises to each of us when we’re willing to lay down everything for him. We need to remember who we are, now—Jesus’ friends. Eternal-life-long friends.
We want to justify ourselves before God, to make ourselves worthy. It will never happen. It can never happen. So let go of it. The good news is: Jesus has made us worthy. He has cleansed us. He has laid down his life for us. Jesus has chosen us because he has chosen us. Because of Jesus, that is enough.
Lay It Down Today
Got shoes on? Take them off. (Or wait for a time when you can do this later on.) Reflect on those places where you know God has already met you, and thank him again for those encounters.
Then, pray a prayer of consecration—something like: “Lord, you have created everything and everything was created to be holy, separated unto you. I want to honor you everywhere I put down my feet, starting in this place. Help me to let go of the person I’ve been, so that I might become the person you want me to be.”
Then, don’t forget you prayed this. Watch what God does with this prayer in the weeks to come. Write down any additional thoughts or prayers.