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Humble Hero

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    The Great Miracle of Changed Hearts

    Judas, in choosing his position at the table, had tried to place himself first, and Christ as a Servant served him first. John was left till last. But John did not take this as a rebuke or any cause to be offended. When Peter’s turn came he exclaimed with astonishment, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Christ’s condescension broke his heart. He was filled with shame to think that one of the disciples was not performing this service. “What I am doing,” Christ said, “you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter could not bear to see his Lord, the Son of God, acting the part of a servant. His whole soul rose up against this humiliation. With great emphasis he exclaimed, “You shall never wash my feet!”HH 302.8

    Christ said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower. He was really rejecting his Lord. It is not humiliating to the Master to allow Him to work to purify us.HH 303.1

    Peter surrendered his pride. Separation from Christ would have been like death to him. “‘Not my feet only,’” he said, “‘but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.’”HH 303.2

    These words mean more than bodily cleanliness. Christ is speaking of the higher cleansing as illustrated by the lower. Someone coming from the bath was clean, but the sandaled feet soon needed to be washed again. So Peter and his brethren had been washed in the great fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. But temptation had led them into evil, and they still needed Christ’s cleansing grace.HH 303.3

    Jesus wanted to wash the division, jealousy, and pride from their hearts. This was far more important than washing their dusty feet. With the spirit they had, not one of them was prepared for communion with Christ. Until brought into a state of humility and love, they were not prepared to share in the memorial service Christ was about to establish. Pride and self-seeking create strife, but Jesus washed all this away in washing their feet. He brought about a complete change of feeling. Jesus could say, “You are clean.” Now there was union of heart, love for one another. Except Judas, each was ready to yield the highest place to another. Now they could receive Christ’s words.HH 303.4

    We, too, have been washed in the blood of Christ, yet often the heart’s purity is soiled. We must come to Christ for cleansing grace. How often we bring our sinful, polluted hearts in contact with the heart of Christ! How painful to Him is our evil temper, our vanity, our pride! Yet we must bring all our infirmity and defilement to Him. He alone can wash us clean.HH 303.5

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