John 13:1-11 (ESVST)
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Just before the Passover, Jesus knew that the time for his death and his return to God was now very near. Jesus has always loved his disciples and even to this day, when his death is so near, he still loved them and he will love them to the end.
2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’ s son, to betray him,
Despite the love with which Jesus loved his disciples, the devil placed in Judas’s heart that he should betray him. This is betrayal despite the love that was poured. Judas here represents all those that despite the love that Jesus loved us with, they chose to turn their backs on him and choose darkness. They exchanged Jesus’s love for sin. Judas represents apostacy at its highest level. Judas is a man who was chosen by Jesus, taught by Jesus, saw Jesus do all sorts of miracles and despite all this, he refused to beleive in Jesus and instead chose to betray him. This is a person whom we call an apostate. This is what is referred to in Hebrews 6:4 and 10:26. The writer of Hebrews say that it is impossible for an apostate to return to God and all that is left of him is the worst punishment of them all. This is how the writer of Hebrews defines apostacy.
Hebrews 6:4-6 (ESVST)
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened(enlightened means having the knowledge), who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Hebrews 10:26 (ESVST)
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Hebrews 10:29 (ESVST)
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
The writer of Hebrews sees apostacy which is what Judas has done as trampling underfoot the son of God, profaning the blood of Jesus and outraging the spirit of Grace. Judas was the first known apostate and there has been more after him. I hope you are not one of them.
So at this point, the devil had already placed in the heart of Judas, that he should betray Jesus.
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples ‘feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Jesus here having the assurance that God has placed all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he stood up from the table, dressed himself like a slave. Took a towel, poured water into the basin and began to do the job that was normally done by the lowest of the lowest slaves. Washing of feet was common in Israel because of the dusty roads and the sandals that they were wearing. It was common courtesy for the host to provide guest with water and a slave to wash their feet before eating at the table. This act of washing feet was regarded as the most shameful work and only done by the lowest of the lowest slaves. Here is Jesus now, the Son of God and God himself, doing the most shameful work. Jesus lowered himself although he is God, to the lowest of the lowest servant. He washes his disciples feet.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “ Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “ What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “ You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
Having just explained how shameful this task is of washing people’s feet, it is not surprising why Peter is refusing for Jesus to wash his feet. Peter regarded Jesus as Lord and there was no way he was going to allow Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus told him that he is refusing because he does not understand what Jesus was doing. Peter still refused and Jesus said to him that If he does not wash him, he does not have a share with him. If Jesus does not wash Peter’s feet, then Peter has no share with him.
9 Simon Peter said to him, “ Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “ Not all of you are clean.”
Hearing this, Peter then asked Jesus to wash his whole body. Jesus then said that if one has washed, he does not need to wash again except for his feet which are made dirty by the streets of Jerusalem as he walked. Jesus said, except for the feet, a person who has washed, is completely clean. Then Jesus said that not everyone of you is clean, reffering to Judas who was going to betray him.
Does this mean that Judas did not wash at all and was not clean as a result. Definitely not. Jesus is clearly not reffering to washing literally. Jesus here is reffering to his death through which everyone’s sin will be washed away. Jesus is talking about the salvation that will come through beleiving in him. Jesus is saying those that beleive are already clean but from time to time, he will need to continue to wash their feet, reffering to their sin. Jesus knows that while we are in this world, we will be tempted and we will from time to time commit sin but, he will be there to wash our sins away. This clearly shows that the death of Jesus was not only for our past sins but also for our future sins. On the other hand, judas who did not beleive, was not clean at all.
When Jesus died on the cross, he washed away all our sins, for those that beleive, and now he continues to wash only those sins that we from time to time commit.
1 John 2:1-2 (NIV)
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
So, for anyone to take this literally, is to completely misunderstand this scripture. Although Jesus might be literally washing his disciples feet, Jesus is symbolizing the washing away of our sins through his death on the cross.