This post continues the discussion of Jesus washing the disciples feet. In his conversation with Peter, Jesus said, “You are clean.” He went on though to show they were not all clean for He knew Judas was unclean and was to betray Him.
Now it is evident that by these words when Jesus said, “You are clean,” He was not talking about them being free from the dirt and grit of day to day living. He was clearly talking about them being clean in a spiritual sense. So let us look at some of the aspects of this spiritual cleansing.
Unless I Wash You
We see this interesting conversation between Peter and Jesus in verse 8-11.
8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.”
9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.”
Peter knew that washing the feet was a task that normally fell to servants and Peter recognised Jesus as the Master. Peter did not wish to see Jesus debased in this way. But Peter did not understand what was going on.
As the conversation continued Jesus showed Peter the importance of being washed by Jesus when Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” Peter was taken aback and immediately wanted in boots and all. He wanted the Lord to fully wash him as he did not want to miss out.
Cleansing of Water
In the statement of Jesus, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me,” we see Jesus pointing to the need to be cleansed. But how? The washing of water is a two part thing and we see it refers to baptism.
Baptism by water is a cleansing process whereby we are cleansed of our sin. It is the regeneration process where we are “born anew” or born again to be new creations in Christ Jesus, and as new creations we begin again with our slates wiped clean of sin.
It is also a symbolic death where we die with Christ and are resurrected with Him. As we go down into the waters of baptism we are symbolically taken into the grave, and as we are raised out of the waters we symbolically enter His resurrection. We are no longer “in” the world but are “in” Jesus after we are baptised in water and accept by faith what this baptism represents.
This washing of water is to cleanse us of sin, but more importantly it brings us into the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. Our new life is hid with Christ seated at the right hand of God as it says in Colossians 3:1-3.
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
In our baptism we are resurrected or raised with Christ as new creations. And now that we have died in baptism and our lives are hid with Christ, we need to change the way we think and set our minds on the things of God.
All of this begins with water baptism. And there is more.
We see also in Ephesians 5:25-27 another aspect of being washed by Christ so that we can take part “in” Him.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
We are the church, the bride of Christ. And to be holy and sanctified and ready for the marriage ceremony when we will be wed to Him, He has cleansed us and washed us through water and the word. Again there is this reference to the cleansing of water which is baptism. It is by baptism and the cleansing power of the words of Christ that we are made clean, that we are set free from sin and that we are set free from the passions of human nature that would tear us down and lead us to sin.
All of this begins with baptism. And yet there is still more.
In Titus 3:5 we see a further need for the washing of the baptismal waters as we are prepared for the receiving of His Holy Spirit.
5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit
In this case the “washing of regeneration” is a clear message of the purpose and power of baptism. The word “washing” here in Greek refers to cleansing by baptism and “regeneration” refers to being made anew. Thus it could be stated as being born anew through baptism. And we have this opportunity only through the mercy and Grace of God.
The second part of the scripture in Titus above leads us to the next step in the washing and regeneration process. If we are washed and born again and stop there we cease to grow. The purpose of the washing by baptism to set us free from sin and death is to prepare us to receive the Holy Spirit.
We are regenerated and born anew to receive the Spirit of God so that we can grow.
Consider a human baby. It comes through the amniotic waters of birth to be born and has the spirit of life within that gives it life. Over time it grows into a child and eventually matures and becomes and adult. If a baby comes through the waters and is born without the spirit of life within, we say it is still-born for there is no spirit and there is no life.
In the same way when a Christian is re-born as a new creation in Jesus Christ. They go through the waters of baptism to be reborn or born anew as new creations, not in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense. And as new creations of the spirit they need the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit to lead them to life in Jesus Christ and to bring to spiritual maturity, just as we come to physical maturity.
This is the spiritual regeneration that follows baptism. Baptism is the preparation for this spiritual beginning and the start of the journey that leads us to the fullness in Christ.
And it all begins with baptism, which I believe is why the Lord said in one of the very last instructions He gave the disciples before His ascension, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by mlpotma)
You might also like:
The Great Commission Part 2
Baptism And John The Baptist
The Baptism Of Jesus
Behold The Lamb Of God
You Must Be Born Again
Eating The Flesh And Blood Of Christ
The Truth Will Make You Free
I Am The Door