Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
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.
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.”
John 13:1b, 12, 21
Yesterday, I found out that someone I trusted lied to me. As I was reflecting on this, I thought about John 13:21, which states, “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.’”
It’s one thing to find out that someone betrayed you in the past, but it is quite another thing to know in advanced that someone is going to betray you. What I find most interesting about this text is the way Jesus felt. Even though Jesus knew the beginning from the end and even though Jesus knew the purpose in this betrayal, he felt troubled in his spirit. He was hurt by what Judas was about to do.
Besides the fact that Jesus showed his humanity in that moment, Jesus also showed us how to respond to those who betray us, even if we sense the betrayal in advance.
If we go back a few verses, we see that the placement of this revelation is key to understanding the lesson that we can glean for today. John 13:12a says, “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.”
Jesus actually washed the feet of his betrayer. He does not skip over him. He shows him the same love, grace and mercy that he showed the other disciples – all of whom would betray him in one way or another – some by denial and some by desertion. All of them really had their part in Jesus fate although we tend to focus most on Judas and make him out to be worse than the others.
This is what we believers tend to do today, we rank sin instead of admitting that we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God and that we continue to sin, even after God has forgiven us over and over again.
What type of love is this? It is a love that would lay down its life in the face of betrayal, humble itself time and time again, and treat the betrayer like royalty with a foot washing.
That’s why Jesus question after the foot washing is key. He asks them in John 13:12b, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” I hear Jesus asking us today on this Monday of Holy Week, “Do you understand what I’ve done for you, each of you, even the so-called “worst” of you?
When I think about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me and for you, I am drawn more deeply into the meaning of John 13:1b which says, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
That’s right, just like he loved ALL of the disciples until the end, Jesus will love ALL of us until the end. That’s some real love.
Today, as you reflect, pause and really ponder the love that Jesus Christ showed on the cross. Really ponder the way he showed up for us until the end. Ponder our Savior, Jesus, Our Real Love.