Today begins Holy Week. I’ll be journeying through Holy Week with some friends with the intent of visiting Christ in His suffering. I’ll be posting some of these devotionals right here on the blog. For more on why I think Holy Week is important, check out my last post: The Hole in our Holy Week.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to Jesus during Holy Week is to enter into His suffering. Chances are, we’ve grown familiar with the stories leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. If that’s the case, we must diligently work that much harder to place ourselves in the stories.
Take a second to clear your mind. Recognize that in this moment, as in all moments, you’re in the presence of God. You’re about to enter into the story of the man who gave His life for yours. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter right now. What’s waiting for you today doesn’t matter either. In this moment, you’re here to visit Jesus in His final moments. You’re not here to give advice or to talk about your problems. You’re just here to be with Him.
John 13:2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 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, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him…
10b And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, “Not all of you are clean. – John 13
HOLY WEEK: JUDAS
Hours before Jesus is arrested in the Garden, He chooses to spend one last meal (Passover) with His closest friends. During the meal, He gets up from the table to wash… His disciple’s feet.
Feet are nasty. They’re sweaty. They’re awkward looking. They smell. And they get weird stuff in between the toes. Even today, the act of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet seems impressive. I don’t know too many people who are chomping at the bit to wash the feet of those around them.
When you place this story in its historical context, it gets even more incredible. When you take into consideration that during this period in history, people wore sandals and walked miles upon miles in the hot Middle Eastern sun, the story takes on even more weight. Add to it all of the animal dung in the roadways and you’re in for a pretty messy day.
But the truly incredible thing about this story isn’t just that Jesus washed the disciple’s grimy, nasty, dingy, feet. It’s that He washed all of their feet. Every single one of them. Even the guy whom He knew would soon betray Him: Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew Judas would turn His back on Him. He knew he’d turn Him over to those who would put Him to death. But still, Christ humbled Himself and washed His traitor’s feet.
Whenever I’ve read this story, I’ve always placed myself in the seat of Jesus. Would I be willing to wash the feet of someone who I knew had ill plans for me? Would I get down on my hands and knees and scrub the dirt off of the feet of the man who was going to lead me to excruciating pain and eventual death? Recently, as I thought about this question in my prayer time, I felt like God said to me, “Paul — you’re in the wrong seat.”
I’m not Jesus in this story.
I’m the guy who has betrayed Christ. Every time I’ve sinned. Every time I’ve turned my back on Him. Denied Him because I was embarrassed. Stayed silent when others ridiculed His name. It was my sins that led Jesus to the Cross of Cavalry. And still — He washes my feet. He serves me by giving His life for mine. When I realized this, it unlocked a new understanding of Christ’s love for me.
Jesus washing Judas’s feet shows that even on your worst day — Christ still loves you. He still serves you. He doesn’t treat you differently because of what you’ve done or what you’re about to do. He loves unconditionally. And when you have a proper view of Christ washing your feet, it enables you to do the same for others.
THINK ABOUT IT:
Take a few moments to sit and imagine Jesus washing your feet. It may feel uncomfortable or awkward, but that’s okay. Pull out something to write on and jot down how you feel. Are you embarrassed? Relieved? Frightened? Now, take a few moments to pray and ask God why you’re feeling those emotions.
soli deo gloria
Thanks for reading! I’m going to be journeying through Holy Week with some friends who’d like to set time aside to visit Christ in His suffering. Each day, we’ll look at a passage from Jesus’ final days and take some time to pray and seek Him. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you. Click this link to get the devotional emailed to you each day: SEND ME THE DEVOTIONAL