Serving Those Who Deserve It The Least
Friday - September 3rd
Scripture to Read Today: John 13:1-17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Thursday of Passion Week included many critical events related to the final days of Christ's earthly ministry. Jesus participates with His disciples in the Last Supper - immortalized forever by Leonardo DaVinci. During that meal, he initiated the Lord's Supper or Communion as a means for His followers to remember His love and sacrifice for them.
While they were eating together in that borrowed Upper Room, Jesus spoke about how one of the twelve would deny Him, and one would betray Him. After the meal, Jesus would go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. It was there that he would be arrested. He would be tried, beaten, and mocked before going the next day to the cross.
Five chapters of John's Gospel cover the details of what Jesus said and did during that Thursday evening in the Upper Room with His disciples. John's record of the night begins in chapter thirteen. He identifies the timing as it related to the Passover celebration taking place that week in Jerusalem. John tells us that Jesus is about to leave earth to return to His Father. He also makes it clear that Jesus had loved His followers and in that Upper Room would show them once again how much He loved and cared for them.
For me, what Jesus does as they begin their time together that night speaks volumes about the humility, compassion, and love Jesus has for His own. After the meal, he gets up and washes the disciples' feet—a strange action for our twenty-first-century minds to comprehend. He did what the lowest servant of a household would have done in that culture. With the group gathered in the Upper Room, whoever was consider the lowest socially amongst them should have washed the others' feet. So, what Jesus does stuns the disciples. Peter boldly objects before Jesus explains the necessity of what He was doing.
After washing those grimy and gross feet, He would announce a betrayer and identify who the betrayer was. John does not suggest that Jesus skipped anyone in the room. That means Jesus humbly and lovingly washed the feet of Judas Iscariot - the betrayer. Can you imagine the moment Judas looked down into the eyes of Jesus as Jesus used a basin of water and a towel to clean his feet? What looks did they exchange? What did Judas see in the eyes of the one He had followed for three years?
What Love! What Kindness! Most of us, had we been in Jesus' place in that Upper Room, would have skipped Judas - or had done something even worse. But, the Son of God demonstrated grace and mercy toward the one who burned with betrayal. Truly Jesus loved all twelve of the disciples right up to the very end of His earthly ministry!
When have you held back kindness and love from someone who has hurt you? The example Jesus gave us as His followers when He stooped to wash the feet of Judas demonstrates how we should extend His love to others - even if they have betrayed or damaged us. Look for ways today to show love to those no one would blame you for overlooking.
Since Jesus loves us when we don't deserve it, we should love and serve others when they deserve it least!