Jesus answeredA person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.John 13:10a
Jesus had said earlier,
What I do now you don't understand. In asking for a bath, Peter proved that he didn't understand what was happening. So Jesus corrects him again. And in those words He gives us a beautiful explanation of the process of salvation. It begins with a bath. That initial coming to Christ, in which we take the place of bankruptcy before Him, coming without any vestige of our own righteousness to offer and allowing Him to cleanse us, is likened to a bath in which we are washed all over, completely, from head to foot. Jesus, of course, is alluding to a very common social practice in those days. It was the custom to take a bath before you went out to a meal. But in walking through the dirty streets of the city with sandals on, your feet would be defiled. And so when you arrived as a guest, a servant would wash your feet. But you would not need to repeat the bath.
So Jesus is saying,
When you first come to me, you are bathed; you are clean all over. This is what the Bible calls justification by faith. It is a washing away of all the guilt and sin of the entire life--past, present, and future. But as you walk through life, Jesus knows your feet will be defiled during your walk, and that needs to be washed away. Thus He teaches us that not only do we need that initial, never-to-be-repeated cleansing, but we also need the many-times-repeated experience of forgiveness, of coming to Christ for the cleansing away of the defilement of our walk. This determines that we have a part with Him.
In other words, the enjoyment of our relationship with Christ is lost when we are temporarily defiled by wrongdoing in our life. We lose the enjoyment of our relationship with Him. His attitude toward us doesn't change, but our attitude toward Him does. That is why we are taught all through the Scriptures to confess our sins (1 John 1:9). And the moment we do so, that original cleansing is renewed to us, and we go on again, restored.
Peter's error is being repeated today. There are those who refuse to have Jesus wash their feet. They are rejecting the indispensable requisite for enjoying their relationship with Christ. When people refuse to let Jesus wash their feet, they lose that sense of partnership with Him. On the other hand, there are those who feel that they need a bath all over again when they sin, that they have lost their salvation and that somehow they have to start over in their Christian experience. But Jesus teaches us by this whole process we need only one bath. This is reflected in the truth of baptism. You are baptized once, as the initial act. But the Lord's Supper reflects the washing of the feet, the need for cleansing from sin throughout life.
Thank You, Father, that You have washed away all my sin and guilt, and I now stand righteous in Your sight. Teach me to come to You each day, confessing my sin, allowing You to restore me to that close fellowship with You for which I was made.
What is behind feeling detached from a loving God? When we feel out of relationship with Jesus Christ, what can we choose to do?