By Aisha Darwesh
18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Today’s verses pick up where Jesus has just modeled an example of humility and affection in sharing the Passover meal with His disciples and in washing their feet. In verse 18, Jesus references Psalm 41:9, which states:
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
One Bible commentary states that “lifting up his heel against me” is a powerful figure of speech meaning he was sold as an enemy and was treated treacherously. What hurts so much about betrayal is that it’s committed by the people we’re close to. We see that Jesus is not at all surprised by Judas’ betrayal.
Let’s ponder on that for a second. Today’s verses show us that Jesus knew full well Judas would betray Him, yet He didn’t cut off fellowship with Judas. Even more amazing, He washed Judas’ feet!
I can already imagine what some of you might be thinking, “Well, Jesus might be able to wash Judas’ feet, but I could never do that. All the haters and traitors in my life are going to have to wash their own stinky feet!” (lol).
To answer that thought, let’s rewind to verses 14-17 of this chapter:
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
While it may be hard to actually live out the Bible, it’s so reassuring to know we serve a God who knows exactly what we’re going through and has shown us exactly what to do! God’s grace is more than sufficient.
Let’s take a look at the next verse:
19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.
Here, Jesus reassures the disciples that He’s sharing these things with them before it comes to pass so that they may believe in Him. Jesus actually did this quite often with the disciples. Although they were usually baffled at the time He would share what’s to come, they were eventually able to grasp it after it happened and it further emphasized Jesus’ Lordship in their lives.
Now let’s look at the final verse of the day:
20Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
This verse echoes the language in verses 16-17 which talk about the servant and his master as well as a messenger and the one who sends him. I love how this verse starts with a “Truly, truly…” and further drives home the fact that Jesus has chosen the disciples and is preparing them to walk into their destinies with freshly cleaned feet!
Being able to receive what God does for us equips us to do the same for others. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and instructed them to do likewise. God has completely forgiven us of all our trespasses against Him by and through our Lord Jesus and He expects to do likewise.
Before moving on to the next section, I encourage you to reflect on how you would honestly answer the following question: Could your struggle to act on God’s Word in any given part of your life, be linked to your inability to receive what God has done for you in that same area?
Today’s verses show us that Jesus didn’t self-protect Himself from Judas, His betrayer. While He knew the betrayal was going to happen, Jesus continued to do life with Judas, sharing the Passover meal with him, and even cleaning his feet.
In what ways can you model Jesus today? In this fallen world, people are going to hurt you, whether they’re believers or not. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). However, as we see from Jesus’ example, that doesn’t mean we necessarily cut people off from our lives.
In what ways can you “clean the feet” of the people who have hurt you or who are inevitably going to hurt you? Sometimes forgiveness does not always entail reconciliation as we see in the case of Judas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be salt and light to those around us…even those like Judas in our lives.
Lord Jesus, I just want to thank You for being a servant leader and modeling what that looks like on a practical level. You’re not a God who stands off at a distance. You humble Yourself and get involved in our lives, even the un-glamorous parts of life. You are with me, and I submit myself to You completely. Lord, have Your way in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.