Daily Worship

Leaping Peter

John Povey February 28, 2024 3 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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John 13: 3-17 (NRSVA)

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7 Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8 Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9 Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ 10 Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

I’m sure we all know someone we would describe as impulsive. They act quickly, often without much thought. The clearest example in the Bible of that sort of character has to be Simon Peter. Peter seems to stand out more than any of the other disciples. He was not only the first to speak up on every occasion, he was also the first to jump into action. Of course, the wise thing to do is to look before you leap! Before jumping into a swimming pool it is good to check first and see if the pool is filled with water. Peter had a tendency to leap first and look later.

Again and again, just like that day when Jesus bent down to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter didn’t get it. Then, when the truth sank in, off he went once more, his enthusiasm bubbling over. He leapt further than was needed. Yet, among all the disciples, Peter was the one described by Jesus as the rock, on which he would build his Church.

We all have our own roles to play, each different according to our particular strengths.  Every generation needs some people like Peter, who gain strength from each corrected mistake, until they become champion leapers!




Lord, in our unequal world, guide us in our daily choices. As members of the body of Christ, may we learn to be imitators of you and to walk in love with one another, just as the Lord Jesus Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. Grant to us the grace of a lively faith, that is not afraid to profess itself openly. Open our eyes that we may see and act on the opportunities you give us to love others. Build us up, that we may become holy and blameless in your sight. In Jesus' name, Amen.