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.”
Peter now completely changed his tune. He did not want to be excommunicated from Jesus’ band of followers. He reversed his “never wash my feet” to impulsively asking Jesus to wash his hands and head, the other exposed parts of his body! This was a dull disciple acting out of ignorance.
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
The bathing Jesus referred to here was His impending shedding of blood on the cross to pay for sins. Peter’s thoughtless response was completely devoid of understanding that point. Jesus’ washing was a once-for-all act. This cleansing never needs repeating.
Those who have been cleansed by Christ never need the cleansing of salvation again, but they will need to accept that Jesus paid for their sins subsequent to salvation. Subsequent sinning has no bearing on our salvation but upon our daily fellowship with the Lord. However, the point that Jesus made in saying “he who is bathed” in the next phrase is not the subsequent cleansing of the believer but the eternal cleansing of an unbeliever. Footwashing is a symbol of the humble work of Christ on the cross in principle. It is not dealing with the progressive cleansing of the believer. All of this makes Jesus an example of genuine humility.
Peter’s fear was that he would not have fellowship with the Lord in service, so he went into a complete reversal of his previous position. There was no way he wanted to lose an opportunity to serve the Lord.
Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed
The cultural background here may be the public Roman baths where people washed their entire bodies. However, their feet would become dirty walking home from these bath houses. The word “bathed” (louo) refers to the complete bath, whereas the word “washed” (nipto) conveys a cleansing of lesser extent. One is forensic (legal) and the other is family cleansing.
The words “is bathed” are in a Greek tense that means the bath took place at one point in the past with the results continuing into the present (perfect tense). Salvation was a completed action at a point in the past with its effects continuing. Having been bathed by the Lord, the believer will never be viewed as dirty with sin again (He 10:14). The efficacy of the blood of Christ is eternally operational.
Our standing before God is immutable.
God never recalls the cleansing of Christ on our souls. The efficacy of His blood washing away our sin stands forever. His blood finally and completely cleanses us. Our confidence for living eternally with God is fixed forever. Our hope rests on Jesus’ blood and nothing else. “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” There is no effort of our own; it is completely the work of Christ.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Ro 8:1). We hold a status of everlasting acceptance to God. God views us as resplendent in Christ. This is far more than forgiveness; it is an issue of status. God perceives our status in all our Savior’s splendor.