Peter was adamant that Jesus would not wash his feet. After all, washing the feet of guests was the responsibility of the house servant (see 1 Samuel 25:11), but as they were lying with their feet extended from the table, having finished supper, Jesus “got up from supper, took off His [outer] robe, and taking a [servant’s] towel, He tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into the basin and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which was tied around His waist” (John 13:4-5, AMP). Undoubtedly, Peter watched all of this unfold with a sense of bewilderment, so much so that when it was his turn, he asked, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” (v. 6).
On this verse the JFB Commentary observes: “Thus far, and in the question itself, there was nothing but the most profound and beautiful astonishment at a condescension to him quite incomprehensible. Accordingly, though there can be no doubt that already Peter’s heart rebelled against it as a thing not to be tolerated.” However, Jesus was having none of it. Probably while looking Peter straight in the eyes, He “answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter'” (v. 7, KJV). In other words, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will [fully] understand it later.” (AMP). The rest of the chapter provides a compelling narrative of how this exchange ended. For our purposes, the words of Jesus in verse 7 is of particular significance. Read them again, slowly.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day living, we sometimes find ourselves in situations that leave us questioning ourselves and God. Whether it is suddenly losing a job, a loved one, being in a difficult relationship, having what seemed like a sure thing end in failure, an open door that closed without warning, a situation that seem to makes no sense, the leading of the Lord that is no longer clear, and whatever else, we, like Peter, are often times bewildered. Yet in our uncertainty and confusion, the words of Jesus to Peter are His words to us: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will [fully] understand it later.” These words are not always easy to embrace, but as we struggle to make sense out of the incomprehensible, the still small voice persists: “Trust me. You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter did not relent the first time; however, he eventually surrendered to the will of His Lord when he realized what was at stake (see verses 8-9). And therein lies the rub, the challenge for all of us. Can we trust our Lord when we do not understand? Can we trust Him when we cannot see His way? Can we trust Him when nothing makes sense? As we stand at the crossroad of indecision, His words still ring true today as it did back then, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.” Do you trust Him enough to surrender your will and your way and embrace His will and His way? Do you trust Him that He knows what He is doing? As with Peter, there is too much at stake. Like Peter, we get to choose. We must choose.