Saturday, January 19, 2008

month of loves: art

Ford Madox Brown: Jesus washing Peter's feet at the Last Supper

John 13: 3-15

3 Jesus aknowing that the Father had given all bthings into his hands, and that he was ccome from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to awash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 aPeter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I bwash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is aclean every whit: and ye are bclean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should abetray him; therefore said he, Ye are not ball clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me aMaster and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and aMaster, have bwashed your feet; ye also ought to cwash one another’s dfeet.
15 For I have given you an aexample, that ye should do as I have done to you.

I saw this painting for the first time at the Tate Britain in London when I was there the last time in 2005. I had wandered through most of the museum already, skimming through much of J.M.W Turner to get to the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and John Singer Sargent, whose works I made sure to see last of all.

In one of the last halls, I saw this painting and realized it was one that hadn't been in the gallery the last time I had visited, so I looked closer. What immediately struck me was the look in Peter's eyes. I saw wonder, shame, love, humility, fear. He didn't understand. How could the Lord who was so great, and so mighty, condescend to wash his, Peter's, a fisherman's feet?

Tears came to my eyes as I pondered the love our Savior has for each of us. He descended below all things to make us clean, and all we can do is wonder with with humility, and follow His example.

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