A man once saw his little daughter cleaning his shoes. She then asked him: “Who cleans Jesus’ shoes?” He couldn’t think of a text that would answer the question. Some days later he excitedly called his wife and daughter and said: “I have just read in the Bible that it’s not at all about having to clean Jesus’ shoes. It is written that Jesus cleans óúr shoes.” He then read to them: He (Jesus) laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13:4 – 5). The man continued that at the time when Jesus, the Son of God, was on earth as a human being, even the rich people often walked, and the roads were dusty. As people today sometimes ask one of their workers to clean their shoes, so they ordered their workers or slaves in those times to wash their feet.
The Biblical story mentioned above continues: 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.” (John 13:8). One day Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” It was Peter who then said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15 – 16). We can now understand why Peter said: “You shall never wash my feet”. However, with Jesus’ reply “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me”, Jesus pointed ahead to his death on the cross when He would die for our sins. Just as water can clean a human body, so Jesus’ blood, which flowed on the cross, can “cleanse” us from sin. If we do not accept his act of salvation, and thus let us be “washed”, we have no share with Christ.
The gospel is not a religion. It is a joyful message of God’s grace in Jesus. We do not serve God in order to obtain eternal life. Eternal life with God was already earned for us by Jesus on the cross. Jesus let Himself be humiliated, flogged and ridiculed. He was nailed to a cross. If I don’t accept this sacrifice, then everything He did for me was futile. Then He may also say to me: “You have no share with me.”
The gospel isn’t a business transaction. I can’t face Jesus one day and say: “I regularly prayed and read the Bible, I did many good deeds, I was very religious, and in exchange therefore I ask You to grant me a place in your kingdom.” Jesus may then say to me: “You didn’t allow Me to wash you, you have no share with Me.”
We serve God, not to be saved, but for a different reason – because we have already been saved. Because if someone is in Christ he is a new being: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul says: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:19 – 20). Someone who has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, cannot avoid wanting to do good deeds, because that is what faith in Jesus means: For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead (Jas. 2:26).
Lord, we pray that one day we shall not hear: You have no share with Me. Amen.