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.
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.

Back in v6 Peter protested when Jesus prepared to wash his feet.

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.” (John 13:6-8 NKJV)

What does this mean that unless Jesus washes Peter then he would have no share with Him? The word “share” translates the Greek word μέρος or meros, which could have been translated as “piece, part, share, or portion, et cetera.” The KJV uses “part” here for instance. What Jesus is saying is that those who have no μέρος with Him do not belong to Him. The foot washing was symbolic of the washing necessary for the forgiveness of sins, in anticipation of Jesus’ death for His people, by which sins were washed away.

In vv9-11 our Lord applies the foot washing in another way. Those who have received forgiveness of sins and are new creations through the washing of regeneration via Jesus’ once-for-all death also need daily cleansing of their sins. Jesus uses the frequent need to wash the feet to symbolize our need for this daily cleansing.

Jesus washed Judas’ feet yet He still says that not all are clean. He is still applying the foot washing figuratively here. Judas participated in the ministry of our Lord as one of the 12 yet he was not spiritually cleansed, unlike Peter and the others. Judas does not have a μέρος with our Lord Jesus Christ.

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “ Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Jesus Identifies His Betrayer
18 “ I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. ’ 19 Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. 20 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.
25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “ It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “ What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night. (John 13:12-30 NKJV)

I thought quite a bit about this today. How could someone be as close to our Lord Jesus as Judas Iscariot and still blow it like this? If one is not born again yet he or she is a professing believer then they can appear to quite genuine. I have seen this in my own life. I have seen it at every level. I have witnessed deacons become reprobates. I have seen Pastors leave their wives, commit adultery, and become apostates. As a deacon in a large church for many years, I saw many examples of members who were supposed Christians do very unchristian things. A few submitted to counseling and repented, but most did not.

We should not be surprised or shocked at the increasing number of obvious false teachers and preachers hammering the visible church in our time. It is amazing. I honestly never thought I would see this in my time. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher from the late 1800’s into the mid 1900’s. I am sure he expected the church to go apostate, but what is going on now would have probably shocked him. I mean some of the big names who are obviously showing apostate roots are men whom he would recognize from his time as supposed solid evangelicals.

Jesus tells us in this passage that his true messengers will not preach or teach anything contrary to what He taught. They will also have the spirit of servanthood in them just as He did. They will not be about creating huge empires for themselves because they are not greater than their master. My brethren we need to pray for these wolves to be exposed and the church’s eyes to be opened. Let us pray for this judgment of spiritual blindness and false teachers and preachers to be ended soon. If this is not to be the case then let us pray for God to continue to uphold His remnant and that the Lord return for His church soon.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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