Years ago, I was thrown under a freight train by someone I worked with. I trusted them, and even considered them a friend. During one of the most painful times in my personal life, my trusted associate seized the opportunity to attempt to have me fired and replace me. That same day I had been reassured that everything was running smoothly and my back was covered. Although I understand now what that meant, I didn’t have the code to decipher it’s true meaning. The translation was that my back would receive a knife firmly planted in it.
Thankfully, the scheme didn’t work. Unfortunately, they remained with the company for close to a year after the attempted coup. Each passing in the hallway or company meeting together would summon a deep urge to retaliate. I so wanted to inflict pain to even the score. Many times, I struggled so much with controlling myself that I couldn’t even mutter a simple “yes” or “no” in response to legitimate questions from my betrayer. Forgiveness eluded me and bitterness took root. At the time, I didn’t realize I had a choice in that. Holding firmly onto a grudge is much easier than letting go of an offense.
Today, it’s easier to choose forgiveness instead of bitterness. It has taken years of Christ growing me and consistent practice in being obedient to His instruction. But even today, I don’t know that I am capable of what Christ did with Judas. Knowing that Judas would betray Him, Christ washed the feet of His disciples … including Judas. Knowing that the cross awaited Him, He served the person who would ultimately deliver Him into the hands of the enemy.
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.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
This is yet another example of Christ’s life that shows a tremendous amount of authority. He chose to serve without exception or exclusion. He led through the example of getting down on His knees. He recognized deceit and betrayal, yet continued to love. I pray that someday I will be able to see the ugliness of selfishness and continue to embrace humility. Through Christ, I believe that all things are possible … even this.Read Day 12 Devotion by Scott