You are clean, but not all of you


by Mike Ratliff

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “ What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “ If I do not wash you, you have no part with 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 is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “ You are not all clean.” (John 13:1-11 NKJV)

The following are notes from the NKJV Study Bible pertaining to the passage above:

13:1 To the end means either “to the last” or “utterly and completely.” What follows in vv. 1–11 demonstrates Jesus’ complete love. Jesus loved His disciples, even though He knew that one would betray Him, another would deny Him, and all would desert Him for a time.
13:2 Being ended may also be translated “having begun.” It was customary for slaves to wash guests’ feet as the guests arrived, before they sat down to eat (vv. 4, 5). In any case, it appears that the supper had not ended, but was in progress. The statement of Jesus’ complete love in v. 1 is contrasted with the fact that Judas would soon betray Him.
13:4 His garments:Jesus laid aside His outer garment, which would have impeded His movements. towel:By putting on an apron, Christ looked like the slave to whom the task of washing the feet of guests was assigned. Though the disciples realized what Jesus was doing, none of them offered himself for the task. Servanthood was not on their minds. Jesus loved them knowing all about them, including the worst one of them, Judas.
13:8 no part with Me:The washing was a symbol of spiritual cleansing (vv. 10, 11). If Peter did not participate in the cleansing, he would not enjoy fellowship with Christ (see 1 John 1:9)
(John 13:1-8 NKJVSB)

wash (Gk. nipto) (13:5, 6, 8, 10; 1 Tim. 5:10) Strong’s #3538; bathed (Gk. louo) (13:10; Acts 9:37; Rev. 1:5) Strong’s #3068:In speaking to Peter, Jesus used two different Greek words to indicate two different kinds of washing. The Greek word nipto (13:5, 6, 8, 10) is used to indicate the washing of the extremities, the hands and the feet. The Greek word louo specifically means “bathing.” According to the social customs of those times, once a person had bathed his entire body, he needed only to wash his feet before partaking of a meal. In His response to Peter, Jesus used both words in order to advance a precious truth:just as those who have bathed need only to wash their feet, so believers who have been bathed by the Lord through His word and the Spirit (see 15:3; Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5) need only to wash themselves daily from the filth and defilement they accumulate by their contact with the world.
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13:9, 10 but also my hands and my head:Given Jesus’ dramatic statement, Peter had no choice but to submit. Only this time he went too far in the other direction. At first he wanted to tell the Lord what to do (v. 8). Now he wanted to dictate the manner in which Jesus did it. But Jesus told him he did not need a bath; he only needed Jesus to wash his feet that were dusty from the road. This is symbolic. A believer has already been “cleansed.” He or she only needs the cleansing of daily sins that comes through confession (see 1 John 1:9). Thus Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet not only is a model of service, but it represents the ultimate in service—forgiveness of sins.
13:11 You are not all clean:This is the second indication of the presence of a traitor among the apostles (6:70). Apparently this comment did not attract much attention.
(John 13:8-11 NKJVSB)

My brethren, the next time we even begin to think we have become mature believers who have passed all the tests and have totally crucified the flesh, et cetera, we need to reread passages like this one. Do we go and ‘wash the feet’ of our enemies? Do we cling to our animosity against those who have wronged us as if it is “our right” or do we humble ourselves, forgive them and serve them as our Lord would? Notice carefully my brethren that even though our Lord did all of this for Judas Iscariot, it changed nothing. He still betrayed our Lord. Continue reading