The Tabernacle in the Wilderness – The Laver of Cleansing

Paul BurlesonThis message by Rev. Paul Burleson was delivered at a luncheon gathering at Trinity Baptist Church on Wednesday afternoon, October 17, 2007, and was taken from John 13:6-15.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all 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? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:6-15, KJV)

No one will ever abide in Christ without experiencing the brass laver of cleansing. What is the brass laver?

Each year on the day of atonement one lamb was sacrificed, as the sacrifice of a lamb was good for only one entrance into the Holy of Holies. But Jesus offered himself up just once for all (Hebrews 10:10-12.) Hebrews 6:4-6 rightly teaches that if you could loose salvation, which you can’t, you could never regain it again. Our relationship with God is eternal. We need to learn to enjoy it, experience it. But this cannot happen without the laver of cleansing.

There is a principle of hermeneutics that states that you cannot interpret one thing literally and another thing spiritually in the same context. The “bath” and “foot washing” are both symbols of spiritual principles that Jesus is teaching his disciples. They are all “washed” or saved, except Judas, but they still need cleansing from the daily sin that they commit. Their feet picking up the dust on the road, and Jesus washing their feet symbolizes this.

Jesus is teaching his disciples that they need to come to him in repentance for his forgiveness on a continual basis. From verse 15 we also see that we need to practice the same thing toward one another.

For real biblical forgiveness two things have to take place:

  1. We have to be willing to count the cost. We need to be honest about the depth of the pain. But you cannot stop here.
  2. You have to embrace the loss. Jesus embraced the cross: “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” We must embrace the loss as God’s good will for our lives. We must realize that nothing done to us defines who we are. The grace of God defines who we are. The hands of the Father shape us. For God and us, forgiveness is ongoing, continual.

As children of God, Christ abides in us 24/7.

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