Bible

Whiter Than Snow

The sun is shining and the snow is sparkling like thousands of tiny diamonds.

Not so much a winter person, I do love a fresh palette of snow. I am never one to enjoy the cold, but I am much more eager to leave the warmth of my home when snow has blanketed the landscape.

Not uncommon for me, the experience puts a song on my heart but the only words I can remember are from the chorus:

“Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Not satisfied to sing that phrase over and over, I searched for the old hymn on YouTube and found this beautiful rendition of the song:

Listen to those words! So beautiful! I listened to it over and over and let the words sink in. Whiter than snow. That’s what Jesus does for us when we turn to Him in repentance.

This journey wasn’t over for me. I had to find the scripture passage that mentions that same phrase. My go-to Bible App on my phone is Biblegateway.com, and from there you can search for any word or phrase and it will display all the verses that contain your request. I also use it to link all of the verses in my blog posts. (For someone like me who struggles to memorize scripture, this is an invaluable tool!)

“Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

From there, my thoughts turned to an event in the book of John 13 when Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet:

“Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.  So He got up from supper, laid aside His outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.  Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.”

Can’t you just picture this in your mind–and the expressions on the faces of His disciples? Jesus, the Son of God, was washing the dirty feet of these men who’s sandaled feet had followed Him along dusty, dirty roads and sandy seashores. Twelve men, including the one who would betray Him. What a humbling experience for them all. Jesus humbled Himself and in doing so, taught them a valuable lesson that I know wasn’t meant just for them–but for all who claim to be His followers.

He came to Simon Peter, who asked him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t realize now, but afterward you will understand.”

 “You will never wash my feet,” Peter said.

Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

“One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.”  For he knew who would betray him. This is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Oh, impetuous Peter! One minute he is saying he would die for Jesus, and the next he is denying Him. Not long after this, Peter is the one who jumps to protect Jesus in the garden, slicing off the ear of the high priest’s slave, Malchus. Jesus is arrested and Peter follows behind, three times denying that he was a disciple.

So what’s the difference between Judas and Peter? Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied knowing Him.

What follows after the crucifixion tells the story. Judas died in his sin, never truly surrendering his life to Jesus; Peter returned to Jesus.

In John 20 we see Peter gathered behind locked doors with the other disciples, hovering in fear. Then Jesus shows up.

“Peace to you!”

“Having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

Peter’s denial and fear turns to rejoicing when He sees the risen Savior who has just paid the penalty for his sin. Peter turns his fearful heart back to the Savior, who lovingly reminds the disciples that His forgiveness brings the peace that we all long for.

Peter continues to follow Jesus until his death as a martyr. No longer living in fear, he was willing to face death rather than deny jesus again.

Whiter than snow? What a beautiful picture of a life that is transformed by the forgiveness of Jesus. Confident not in himself, Peter’s sometimes brash personality was turned to boldness for the cause of Christ. Jesus knew what kind of man Peter was and yet He chose to use him despite his idiosyncrasies.

Do you know why I love that story? Because it reminds me that God loves me in spite of my flaws. He created me and He knows my human tendencies, but He also knows my potential–even better than I do. Maybe today you need a fresh reminder that God loves you. That He has a plan for you, and that despite your weakness, He can and will use you if you will just trust Him enough to surrender to Him in FAITH.

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