Tuesday March 31st, 2015
Love before Nightfall
Note from Jesus
Satan tries to mess up every act of genuine love. What you read in the verses below is one of My most precious moments with My closest disciples. They still did not understand what was about to happen to Me. They were clueless what the next few days would mean to them some day and what price I would soon pay. They were teetering on the brink of striving for religious position and privilege just like the folks who were trying to kill Me — the very same folks whom I rebuked in yesterday's verses.
I had spoken often to My disciples about the greatest in My kingdom being servants (Mark 10:43). Rather than give a theological discourse on the nature of being a servant, I knew they needed a demonstration of serving that showed them My love as I faced My own death. I think you will find this time with My disciples to be quite precious. My actions, centered in sacrificial love, showed that in My kingdom, the greatest is a servant. Greatness is not found in the person of position and power at the head of the table and receiving all the attention while being waited upon hand and foot. Greatness is found in the one who is willing to wash feet and care genuinely for others while facing difficult challenges himself or herself.
Of course Peter, as he so often did, got things a little confused. The others were mystified by what I was doing. Why would I, their Lord and Teacher, stoop down, pick up the towel, and wash their feet? Washing feet was the job of a house slave.
These disciples I loved so dearly needed to know that serving is the nature of genuine leadership. As the minutes I was going to have with them were speeding quickly into the past, I wanted to leave them a memory that would stick in their hearts and transform their attitudes.
Judas, in the moment of My demonstration of love, was biding time until he could turn Me over to those who wanted to kill Me. He was close to Me. He shared this meal with Me. We shared the same cup. We shared the same bread. He had spent three years with Me. No one else suspected what was in his heart — his heart he had given to Satan to control fully.
Disloyalty is the nature of love on your worst days: You give all that you have to someone, then he or she lets you down like all those at the table with Me let me down. Some overstate their commitment to you and then can't live up to their promises. Some sell you out for what they think is a better offer. Others simply abandon you in your hour of need.
No matter what people might do to you — even people whom you have loved with all that you have and all that you are — you know you can always come to Me and talk to Me about how you feel. I know the hurt. I know the gut-wrenching ache of abandonment. I know the disappointment of hours of love invested in someone who doesn't fully appreciate your love for him or her. I know the loneliness of facing the ridicule of others while having no friend there for you. I know because this is what I experienced.
When Judas left our table, John's words hauntingly state the truth with brutal finality: "So Judas took his piece of bread and departed into the night." I hope you never know the feeling of such heartbreaking nightfall. If you do, remember this: I know what it feels like and I will help you through it if you will call out to Me!
Verses to Live
Before the Passover festival began, Jesus was keenly aware that His hour had come to depart from this world and to return to the Father. From beginning to end, Jesus' days were marked by His love for His people. Before Jesus and His disciples gathered for dinner, the adversary filled Judas Iscariot's heart with plans of deceit and betrayal. Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God, stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel, poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel.
Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches):Lord, are You going to wash my feet?Jesus:Peter, you don't realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.Peter:You will not wash my feet, now or ever!Jesus:If I don't wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.Peter:Then wash me but don't stop with my feet. Cleanse my hands and head as well.Jesus:Listen, anyone who has bathed is clean all over except for the feet. But I tell you this, not all of you are clean.He knew the one with plans of betraying Him, which is why He said, "not all of you are clean." After washing their feet and picking up His garments, He reclined at the table again.
Jesus:Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and truly, that is who I am. So if your Lord and Teacher washes your feet, then you should wash one another's feet. I am your example; keep doing what I do. I tell you the truth: a servant is not greater than the master. Those who are sent are not greater than the one who sends them. If you know these things, and if you put them into practice, you will find happiness. I am not speaking about all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but let the Hebrew Scripture be fulfilled that says, "The very same man who eats My bread with Me will stab Me in the back." Assuredly, I tell you these truths before they happen so that when it all transpires, you will believe that I am. I tell you the truth: anyone who accepts the ones I send accepts Me. In turn, the ones who accept Me also accept the One who sent Me.Jesus was becoming visibly distressed.
Jesus:I tell you the truth: one of you will betray Me.The disciples began to stare at one another, wondering who was the unfaithful disciple. One disciple in particular, who was loved by Jesus, reclined next to Him at the table. Peter motioned to the disciple at Jesus' side.
Peter (to the beloved disciple):Find out who the betrayer is.Beloved Disciple (leaning in to Jesus):Lord, who is it?Jesus:I will dip a piece of bread in My cup and give it to the one who will betray Me.He dipped one piece in the cup and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After this occurred, Satan entered into Judas.
Jesus (to Judas):Make haste, and do what you are going to do.No one understood Jesus' instructions to Judas. Because Judas carried the money, some thought he was being instructed to buy the necessary items for the feast or give some money to the poor. So Judas took his piece of bread and departed into the night.