I was reading John 13 this morning. It’s a chapter I’ve read dozens of times, but something new spoke to me this morning from the verses. Don’t you love that? I suppose that’s why it’s called the Living Word. The Holy Spirit speaks what we are ready to hear when we are ready to hear it. Makes me think of when Jesus gave instructions in parables. He said frequently, “those who have ears, let them hear.” We all have the feature of ears, but it’s not until our spirit is ready that we hear the deeper truths God has for us all.
Back to John 13. It’s the chapter on washing feet. I always liked that. Jesus humbling himself to serve others. Such a wonderful lesson. But this morning, a new lesson emerged.
Do you know what Jesus was doing right before He washed His disciples feet? Yes, they were all enjoying a meal together, the famous Last Supper, but John 13 gives us a peek into the thoughts of Jesus. As Jesus is sitting at the table, with the men who are supposed to be His followers, His brothers, dudes He can trust, He knows it isn’t so. He knows Peter will deny Him, He knows Thomas will doubt His resurrection, but He also knows Judas will betray Him.
He thinks on these things. Then He rises and prepares to wash the feet of His brothers. He washes the feet of the one who will deny Him. He washes the feet of the former tax collector who had previously sold his devotion to his country and people for a bigger paycheck. He washes the feet of the doubter. He even washes the feet of His enemy, the one who’d sell Him up the river for a bag of silver. I mean, this is an obvious lesson for us all. Sure, a hard act to follow, but definitely something to shoot for, right?
Yet, it’s the act just before washing the disciples feet that really got my attention this morning. He’s at the table. It says that He knows Judas is going to betray Him. That’s the thought running through His head while He eats His last meal before the death sentence. It’s like He’s on death row, waiting for the final walk down the long hall to torture, pain, and betrayal. People who He came to save are plotting against Him as He nibbles on bread dipped in oil. Talk about anxious thoughts!
I’m an over-thinker, personally. When someone does me wrong, I will replay the incident in my head repeatedly. I’ll ponder what I should have said, creating conversations that never happened. But could have! Lol. I’m also a sensitive soul. When people hurt me, I weep. When they wrong me, I get angry. I get offended. And in all my situations where people have hurt me, betrayed me, and plotted against me, I honestly can’t compare it to the situation of Jesus. But, perhaps I can learn from His example.
John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God
Jesus contemplates that Judas is sitting right there beside Him, and He’s about to betray Him, leading to a chain of events that will end in His crucifixion.
But then He fights the pain of the lies of this world with the truth of God. A friend, a brother is betraying Him, yet that doesn’t change the fact that His Father has control over EVERYTHING! And really, isn’t that the only thing we need to ponder, the last thought we need to have, that puts to bed all our anger, hurt, offense, and fear? Yessss.
Our lesson today is three parts. The first we already know. We learn it at a young age. My eleven year old just learned it a couple of weeks ago.
1. People in this world will hurt us. They will betray us, even plotting our demise. I wish this was not so, but in our broken world of sin, it’s true. We will have a Judas.
2. In our Judas moments we must remember the absolute truth from scripture. All things are under our Father’s power! He knows it’s gonna happen. We don’t have to fight our own battles. Our Father has control. We belong to Him, and we will return to Him. The Judases of this world can never take that away from us.
3. We still wash feet. Despite the knowledge of betrayal, the truth that God was in control propelled Jesus forward. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. I recall the Garden in Gethsemane and how my Savior cried. No one is telling you not to cry. But the example of Jesus reminds us to keep moving forward in love.
This is a lesson I need desperately. So often I encounter trouble and my gut reaction is to fret. Yet God calls me to trust Him. But even more so, in the midst of trouble, I am reminded to keep going, and to do so in love, with a servant heart. I can still give to others, even when fear tries to tell me I won’t have enough. I can lower myself to my knees, even at the feet of my enemies, knowing that despite the plots against me, I belong to My Father, and His plans for me never fail. I pray we all can remember these lessons together and move forward like the example Christ has given.