I have been reading through the Gospels for a little over a year now and writing down all of my thoughts and what I learn as I read them. Last night, I came to John 13 where Jesus is washing the Disciples’ feet. I, like many of you, have read or heard about this particular passage many times because it is pretty famous in Christian circles. There is a lot to take away from reading it both practically and theologically, but something struck me for the first time when I read it last night.
How difficult must it have been for Jesus to wash Judas’ feet?
Verse 11 in John 13 says, “For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not every one was clean.”
My point in typing that verse is to show that Jesus absolutely did know what Judas was about to do. He knew that this man would betray Him, give Him up to the authorities, and ultimately be responsible for stabbing the back of the Son of man. In the midst of this, He stooped down and cleaned the grossest part of this man’s body (his feet) in front of His closest friends. How could He do that? How could He serve the man who loved money more than Him, who lived with Him for 3 years, experienced the love of GOD firsthand for 3 years, and still had the selfishness to turn Him over.
Think about a time someone you trusted stabbed you in the back. Maybe they lied about you or threw you under the bus for some reason…How did you react? If you are like me, probably not very well. It is difficult for me to trust someone again or to even like someone again if they do something to me that I don’t like. I don’t like this about myself, but I know that it is true.
Here is the point…Jesus washed Judas’ feet. He didn’t skip Judas when He got to Him, He didn’t do it begrudgingly, and He didn’t do it for show. He did it because He truly loved Judas. In spite of what Judas was about to do, Jesus loved Him and wanted to serve Him in the middle of his betrayal. How could He lower Himself to this? How could He serve the very one who hated Him to the point of death?
My next question is this…How can we be more like Jesus and lower ourselves to serve the very ones who hate us.
I don’t mean we should walk around looking for people who hate us so we can serve them. I mean we serve everyone no matter who they are. Honestly, there are many times in Haiti that I do not want to serve some of the people that we come into contact with. Let me give some examples:
- When we are approached daily by people who want money.
- The other day when the community around the orphanage decided to “repair” the road near the orphanage and then would not let us pass until we paid them.
- When the “Dad” of one of the girls at the orphanage came by to complain that he doesn’t like the school we are sending the kids to.
- When someone came to the orphanage yesterday and told me that I needed to feed all the children of the community because that is what the Bible tells me to do.
- When one of the oldest kids at the orphanage made everyone else late for church because he didn’t feel like going.
- Like yesterday when we tried to hire someone at the orphanage to help with laundry and someone else got jealous that we were going to pay this woman (even though she already has a job).
I could go on and on, but you get the point. We all have reasons why we don’t serve others. We all have people or types of people that we do not want to “lower” ourselves to serve. We all think we are the busiest people in the world and don’t have time to set aside our busyness to serve others.
But then I come back to the life of Jesus and I am reminded that He washed Judas’s feet…He washed Judas’ feet! And it puts everything in perspective. It’s not just that we are supposed to serve people on the mission field, at our church, in our family, or even in our jobs. We are supposed to serve ALWAYS! We are supposed to serve the least, the greatest, when it hurts, when it’s fun, when it destroys our reputation, when other people see, when nobody is looking…We are called to serve, and we take pleasure in serving because it brings us closer to the Savior who served us with His very life. If you were Jesus, would you have died for you? I know I wouldn’t have. But He did.