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A turning point

For the last two weeks I have taught a class at church examining what happened to Peter when his feet were washed by Jesus (John 13). I've been using Powerpoint so I've been looking for images of this event on the internet. So far, this one seems to be the best:


Why? Because it seems to be the only one that shows Jesus as he was actually described in the story: "...so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist." (John 13:4). Almost every single one of the images that portray this event have Jesus in a fancy getup and still poised in some kind of power position. They all still give Jesus a remarkable amount of dignity and religiosity. I'm thinking that if that were the case, what happened to Peter would never have taken place.

As I read through this story a couple of years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that this was a pivotal moment in the life of Peter. And I don't mean important, I mean pivotal. This was an "ah ha" moment for Peter when suddenly everything he ever thought and knew was turned on its head. Peter looked down at a nearly naked, self-humiliated man and still wanted to see his vision of the Son of God. So in a fit of total cognitive dissonance, Peter somehow tried to rectify the situation by placing himself above God and giving orders to Jesus, telling him what not to do. Then Jesus, striking the verbal blow that finally put Peter's head on straight, told him that "unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Unless I get below you, you will never be with me. Until you let me become less than you are, you will never know something greater. I see a moment of hesitation in Peter's eyes as it all comes together. The realization of what is happening rolls over him like a wave and he suddenly pitches forward to Jesus, almost beathlessly gasping the words - "Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

I'm pretty sure that all the visions Peter had of Jesus at that point were cast in a completely new light. The picture that he had developed in his head of this man was turned upside down and he saw a whole new image, one with miles and miles of new depth. An image that burst through all of the religiosity and granduer and stopped at a single point of light shining timidly upon a man with the power to blot out the sun but instead was kneeling on the floor, with almost no clothes, holding the calloused feet of a human.

That's my God.


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