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John 13:8

ESV 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.”
NIV No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'
NASB Peter *said to Him, 'Never shall You wash my feet!' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no place with Me.'
CSB "You will never wash my feet," Peter said.Jesus replied, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me."
NLT No,' Peter protested, 'you will never ever wash my feet!' Jesus replied, 'Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.'
KJV Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

What does John 13:8 mean?

Peter objects to Jesus performing the submissive task of a servant: washing of others' feet (John 13:6). His motivation is noble, since he clearly sees Jesus as his master. In the prior verse, Jesus reassured the disciples that they would better understand this action later (John 13:7).

Peter, never quick to take a hint, responds with a strongly-phrased expression in Greek. His exact words are "ou mē…eis ton aiōna!" This is somewhat like saying "no way…not ever!" in English. This is sincere, but stubborn. Peter does not understand, but suggests he doesn't need to: he cannot imagine Jesus acting like a servant. If he can't understand it, he won't cooperate with it.

Jesus' response is equally black-and-white. His wording is an ultimatum: either I do this, or you have nothing to do with me. In the most immediate sense, this is a rebuke of Peter's stubbornness. So far as the literal, physical foot-washing between Jesus and Peter is concerned, it's a non-negotiable. One can imagine Jesus saying something to the effect of "I'm not asking you Peter, I'm telling you."

Scholars differ in how—or if—to apply Jesus' comment to believers in general. On one hand, there's a universal sense in which those who abjectly refuse to submit to Christ are, by definition, not His followers. If someone follows through on an attitude of "I am not doing that, Jesus" then they have "no part" in Him or His kingdom. On the other hand, this comment can't be separated from the literal context or the statements Jesus is about to make.

As the passage continues, Jesus will distinguish between "washing" and "bathing." This will include an allusion to Judas' betrayal. That background makes an application of Jesus' words to the modern believer more specific: this speaks about fellowship, not eternal salvation.
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