“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.”
These few verses highlight so clearly the power, humility, and unfathomable grace of our Savior. Jesus knew all that was transpiring and that His death was only hours away. Knowing who He was, knowing was what about to happen, and knowing that all things had been placed in His hands—having the supreme authority and the matchless, unstoppable power of God—fully aware of it all, He chose to show humility and honor to those who had followed and learned from Him, those He had chosen to establish His church.
Judas’s betrayal was already set. The plans were in place. Money exchanged. And Jesus knew. Yet here we don’t see an exclusion of him from this act of service. Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the One through whom all things were created and in whom all things hold together, knelt before Judas and washed his feet.
There was no obligation here. Jesus could have waited until Judas left to begin washing the feet of His disciples. But He chose to demonstrate the compassionate love and grace of our God. In Jesus we see, in flesh, in daily circumstances, who our God is and how He chooses to act. This is how far-reaching His grace is. This is the abundance of His love. How great is His kindness toward us, that He would choose to wash the feet of even the one who betrayed Him.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6, 8
“[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
In contemplating the kindness shown to the man who betrayed our Lord, may our hearts be drawn to the wonder of the immeasurable riches of the grace of God shown in kindness to us. Sinners, dead in our trespasses, with nothing to offer and no hope for redemption—greatly loved by the God whom we had rejected, made alive in Christ and raised up with Him, to live forever in the glory of His grace. We walk each day in the steadfastness of His love and faithfulness. The love and faithfulness of a God who had no obligation to save us, but chose to do so because of His rich mercy and His great love.
We were as much His enemy as Judas, yet Jesus did not merely wash our feet. He died for us. May the magnitude of this powerful act of love, the forgiveness offered through His sacrifice, and the victorious life given in His resurrection overwhelm our hearts again.