“He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me” (John 13:18)
I think all of us need to ponder the question: Do I truly love Jesus or am I more like Judas? Passover was at hand and Jesus knew his time had come. Jesus sat down with his disciples to have supper. He was spending his last moments with those he loved most in the world. But at supper Jesus speaks of the one who would betray him. This seemed impossible because he was there with only his disciples. This betraying was inside job. Jesus knew who would betray him. Judas knew who would betray him. No one else knew who Jesus spoke of when he said: “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.”
At dinner, Jesus quietly gets up and takes off his outer garment. I am sure the disciples were watching every step curious to what Jesus was going to do next. Jesus picks up a towel and ties it around his waist. He starts to pour water into a bowl. I wonder who that first disciple was Jesus bent down to wash his feet? The room was probably silent. Eyes were stunned at the sight of Jesus down at the feet of his own disciples. We don’t hear a response from anyone until Jesus arrives at the feet of Peter. We are all surprised to read that the disciple with the foot-shaped mouth was the first to speak up. But let’s face it Peter was saying exactly what all the other disciples were thinking, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Peter cannot comprehend why his Master is acting like a servant. Jesus is doing exactly what the disciples should do for him. Peter gets it. Not totally but he at least gets that reality.
As we read further we know Peter doesn’t fully understand because he asks Jesus to wash his hands and head as well. Peter wants every part of him to be clean. Jesus says, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean.” That had to bring comfort to Peter. His master had just told him he was clean but Jesus proceeds, “But not every one of you [is clean].” I wonder if the hearts of the other disciples began to sink at that moment. Who? Is it me? Is it him? Keep in mind, Judas was in the room and his feet were washed. He knew who Jesus was speaking about. He knew he was one that was not clean. I wonder if Judas loved the fact that Jesus was washing his feet. Here was the Son of God down at the feet of his betrayer. But this did not mess up Jesus’ plan at all. He finishes washing the feet of his disciples and takes his place back at the table. Then he reminds his disciples that a servant is not greater than his master. Jesus was the one they called “Teacher and Lord” yet he just did the job of a servant. His words rang loud and clear to them as they sat there thinking about their master serving them. None of them were greater than Jesus yet he washed their feet. Jesus is the motivation for them to wash one another’s feet. Jesus is the ultimate picture of humility. He did not just talk about it but he demonstrated it in his life.
Jesus demonstrated humility. Judas demonstrated pride. Jesus served everyone. Judas served himself. Judas was a deceiver who loved his position amongst the disciples. He loved being the treasurer so that he could take for himself. His heart was filled with the pride of possessions. He couldn’t love Jesus because he loved himself so much. Eventually his greed brought him to place where he sold Jesus over for 30 shekels of silver. He betrayed the One who gave him everything. He didn’t heed the warnings from Jesus but continued to be sucked away by the wide road of destruction. He was the one who ate the Lord’s bread and lifted his heel against the very hand that feed him. This is how Judas will always be remembered.
The saddest thing to ponder is that God has always been the One who has provided everything in life. He gives us life, breath, every heartbeat, food, drink, shelter and we could keep going yet so many respond the same way as Judas. Rather than be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ so many would rather lift their heel against the Giver to worship the gifts. Rather than being humbled by the love and grace of Christ displayed at the cross so many are sucked away by the fleeting pleasures of sin. Don’t be like Judas! Repent of your sin and surrender your life to Christ. Place yourself at the foot of the cross and ask God to be merciful to you.
Grace upon grace,