The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Written by: Nathan Smith
I have a confession to make. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me after you hear what I am about to share with you. You will probably think less of me as a person, but I hope with God’s help we can still be friends. Okay, here goes (deep breath): There are people in my life that are hard for me to love in the way that Jesus loves them. Actually, forget love—there’s some people I don’t even like! Sometimes there are complete strangers that I know absolutely nothing about but for some reason I actually go out of my way to avoid. Phew, that felt good to get off my chest.
In all seriousness, the reality is that unless you have some superhuman spiritual gift of mercy and compassion you’re probably just like me. You know all people are created in the image of God and loved by Him and therefore we are to love them as well. But sometimes it’s just so hard. There are people that annoy us, inconvenience us, emotionally drain us, or have even hurt us. The list of reasons we don’t like certain people goes on and on. And while I’m being honest, I know it’s something I should be better about and I try really hard to not let my sinful nature win out when it comes to loving people. Jesus gives us a great example of how to love those who are difficult to love.
I have heard the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet countless times throughout my life. If you’ve spent any amount of time in church, you’ve probably heard this powerful story of Jesus submitting himself and showing his love for the disciples by literally becoming a servant and washing their feet. But there’s one important detail I never really thought about until recently. It’s found in verse 2 of John 13; Judas was part of that group. Think about that for a minute. At this point, Jesus already knew Judas was going to betray Him and lead Him straight to a painful and excruciating death. But He got down on His hands and knees and washed his feet anyway. Imagine all of the emotions Jesus must have been feeling as He followed through with this amazing act of submission. Now whenever I am tempted to blow someone off or not show compassion, I try to stop and remind myself that Jesus washed Judas’ feet.
Thought of the day: Who is God asking you to love that you’re avoiding? How can you be better at showing love to the unlovable? What relatively minor inconvenience have you made into a bigger deal than it should be?
Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times I’ve been disobedient, judgmental, and hurtful. Help me to be more like Jesus in how I love the people You put around me. Help me to be obedient when You are leading me to show mercy or compassion to an individual or group of people. Open my eyes to ways I can be more loving. Amen.