10 Jesus said to him: “The person who has had a bath does not have a need to wash (except his feet], but is clean all over; and you are clean, though not all of you.”
11 For He knew the one who was going to betray Him; this is why He said that you are not all clean.
The response of Jesus to Peter’s enthusiasm to have a complete bath is to tell him that he has no need of this, since he has already had a bath, indeed they all had.
They only needed to have washed that part of the body that had become dirty again.
This is an incident that is packed with meaning, which we will look at.
However, it will be good to have a look at some of the back ground to this event.
There are some different views concerning the circumstances of what was taking place in that Upper Room.
Firstly the word used for bath is different from the word that is used for having a wash. Therefore, this is a reference to something different from the washing of hands and feet that we read of in Matthew 6.17 where Jesus said:
“When you fast, comb your hair and wash your face” – (NLT).
This is the washing that we would do using a sink or basin, and it was in regards to fasting. In this Jesus was teaching that we should do the things we would normally do so that it is not obvious that we are fasting. This includes normal washing of the face and combing the hair.
The word that Jesus used in verse 10 means to have a bath; completely covering the whole body. It would appear that it was part of the Jewish culture to regularly take a bath.
They took seriously the need to have their whole body cleansed through washing. Much of this is seen in the written Law given to Moses.
The spiritual meaning is seen in our need to be cleansed from the dirt and filth of sin that we accumulate every day.
These words of Jesus that tell us that there is a need for us to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, and that we also need to constantly be washed for the cleansing of sins that we commit, both knowingly and unknowingly.