Peter and Jesus


Thank you for joining us for Encounters with Jesus. Each week, we will hear a story from the Bible told from the perspective someone who encountered Jesus firsthand. If you would like to learn more about these charcters and their stories, you can read about it in the Bible. See: John 13:1-17





The night was cool. Cooler than it has been lately. I wrapped my cloak a little tighter as we climbed the hill. I knew where we were going, his favorite spot. It wasn’t the first time we gravitated to Gethsemane. This garden was one of his favorite places. He would often bring us here to rest. Even more, he loved to come here to be alone and pray to his Father.

My mind went back to the conversation over dinner earlier in the evening. I replayed the things he’d done and said. Jesus said a lot of things I didn’t understand, and often did things I didn’t understand, but this was different.

I’ve seen Jesus perform miracles: multiplying food, calming rough seas, and even raising Lazarus from the dead. But tonight felt… personal. Intimate. Like it was just for us.

There had been a kind of unspoken tension all night. Jesus seemed off. I still can’t put my finger on it. He seemed more quiet than usual, a little sad. His mind definitely elsewhere.

Then, right in the middle of our meal, he stood and took off his outer garment. We were all confused by this. What was he doing? I immediately became uncomfortable when he wrapped a towel around his waist and grabbed the basin of water by the door.

None of us had thought to wash each others’ feet. This wasn’t our house, and there wasn’t a servant to do it when we arrived. Sure, we were all dusty and dirty from walking all day, but Jesus couldn’t do this. He’s our rabbi, our teacher. Not a servant.

I watched in disbelief as Jesus walked to where Philip was reclining and set the basin on the ground. And, one by one, he moved down the line, washing our feet.

Quietly. Reverently. No one spoke. How were they allowing this to happen?

When he got to me, I couldn’t take it any longer; he couldn’t be serious. In fact, I think I even said, “Jesus, you can’t be serious!” And his response was classic Jesus. He said, “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

I doubled down, telling him no way was he going to wash my feet. But his answer shocked me. “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

My mind was spinning.

No part with Jesus? I didn’t know how to even process that! The only thing I’ve wanted these past three years was to follow him. To be close to him. The idea of not being with him scared me. So I panicked and told him to wash my hands and head as well. I noticed Jesus smiled, but I was serious. He assured me that wasn’t necessary, speaking in riddles as usual. When he was finished, he set the basin aside and rejoined us at the table.

No one said a word. No one knew what to say.

Then Jesus explained to us what he had done. He had shown us how to love each other through serving each other. That, if he can wash our feet, being our teacher and Lord, then we should be able to wash each others’ feet. This should be our example moving forward—not only for each other, but for everyone.

It’s hard to comprehend, respecting someone so much and watching them humble themselves to serve you in such an unthinkable way. I felt uncomfortable with it. I still feel uncomfortable with it. It seemed so natural for him. I can’t imagine it will ever come that naturally for me.

Of course, I would follow Jesus anywhere. I would do anything for him. Serve him, fight for him… die for him!

And as I sat in the garden reflecting once more over the evening’s events, I noticed the glimmer of torches and heard the low rumble of angry voices approaching from a distance. I sprang to my feet and braced myself for action.

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