John 13: Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet
1Now(A) before(B) the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that(C) his hour had come(D) to depart out of this world to the Father,(E) having loved(F) his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2During supper, when(G) the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3Jesus, knowing(H) that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that(I) he had come from God and(J) was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel,(K) tied it around his waist. 5Then he(L) poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7(M)“What I am doing(N) you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8(O) Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, (P) “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash,(Q) except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And(R) you[b] are clean,(S) but not every one of you.” 11(T) For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” Jesus answered him,

12When he had washed their feet and(U) put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, (V) “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13(W) You call me(X) Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,(Y) you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example,(Z) that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you,(AA) a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things,(AB) blessed are you if you do them. 18(AC) I am not speaking of all of you; I know(AD) whom I have chosen. But(AE) the Scripture will be fulfilled,[d](AF) ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’19(AG) I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20Truly, truly, I say to you,(AH) whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

In my Lenten devotional I’ve been reading this passage for the last few days. Honestly it’s just one of those that you read and it just kind of washes over you because you’ve heard the story so much (think Jonah and the whale or Noah). Today when I read it, though, it just kind of hit me: Jesus washed Judas’ feet. I’ve always read this story and just thought, yep I need to be more of a servant, I need to do this or that, I need to change the way I respond to others etc, etc etc.

But the thing is, Jesus knowingly washed the feet of someone who was about the walk out the door and do something horrible. Because of what Christ did for me, it’s not hard for me to imagine he would stoop so low as to wash the feet of the disciples. But what I started thinking about today was: what was Judas thinking while this was happening? Did he sit there all puffed up with bitterness thinking “this is precisely why I turned him in…look at this man!” or was this a moment where he truly realized what he was doing?

When God gives me things or takes away or doesn’t give me what I pray for; when He lowers himself for my good, what is my response? I’m so much closer to Judas in that room than Peter. Peter just calls Jesus out on His act of service (see verse 6). But Judas, he betrays Jesus not only by letting Him wash his feet, but by getting up and walking away. I so often in my life see Jesus moving so gently and mercifully in my life (whether I like it or not) and then I just get up and walk away just to betray Him further. Ah, but how sweet is the mercy and grace of Jesus. No matter how many times I walk away he always welcomes me back into loving arms.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. One who knowingly sees you washing over me with love and then stomping away in betrayal.

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