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Series: Lord of Lent
Kneeling Power, Kneeling Love: Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

John 13: 1-17, NRSV


The horrified reaction of Peter … is the reaction of normal human nature. That the disciple should wash his master’s feet is normal and proper. But if the master becomes a menial slave to the disciple, then all proper order is overturned. This is a total subversion of good order as we understand it, and as the smooth operation of human affairs seems to required. All normal management procedures require chains of authority. All of us, except those at the very bottom, have a vested interest in keeping it so, for as long as we duly submit to those above us we are free to bear down on those below us. The action of Jesus subverts this order and threatens to destabilize all society.

— Leslie Newbigin
The Light Has Come

  • Jewish leaders warned that Jesus becomes too powerful, too populate, that Romans would destroy them all
  • Feet are awkward, unattractive
  • Peter confused the point of feet washing, that is the lesson of power of hierarchy structure, with getting cleansed
  • Do we then want to avoid being in high power position?
  • Jesus sees the necessary failure in Peter’s Life

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