As I’m reflecting on Jesus’ last week on this earth, I am reminded of his love.
A love I don’t understand and a love I don’t know how to live.
I’m reading John 13 and realizing before the “Last Supper” Jesus did something so crazy, so upside-down to demonstrate one final lesson to His disciples about His character.
Jesus had spent three years with these disciples. Day in and day out, walking with them, teaching them, breaking bread with them, loving them. He knew them. All of them, their hearts, their thoughts, every part of them, every one of them.
Jesus walked side by side with Judas. He was in Jesus’ inner circle. And Jesus fully knew him. Jesus knew Judas was a fake, a phony, a hypocrite, and a betrayer. He knew Judas was going to sell him out and hand him over. And look at what Jesus does the night before it happens:
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:1-5)
Jesus, fully knowing that Judas was going to betray him, gets up from the table, takes the posture of humility, maybe even humiliation, bends his knee, and washes Judas’ feet.
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13:12-20)
He does this to show us what is at His core, humility and submission to the will of the Father. So that we might believe He is the Christ.
Jesus doesn’t try to confront Judas, kick him out of the group, call out his sin, prove his point, etc. He knows his heart, tells him to his face “do what you came here to do”, exposing him, and yet trusts God’s plan to let him. Jesus shows Judas love even in the midst of his betrayal.
Jesus invites his betrayer to the table, feeds him, looks him in the eye, and bends down to wash his feet. He serves the one who would hand Him over to death.
I don’t know how to love like this. I don’t know how to humbly submit like this. I don’t know how to forgive like this.
I will never be able to love and forgive like this apart from being filled with His spirit and remembering the love God has for me.
This kind of love, the love of Christ, is beyond my understanding.