Would you wash Judas’ feet?
In our fellowship group, we wash feet at Passover, as Yeshua washed his disciples’ feet. He said basically, “You’ve seen me, your lord and master wash your feet. Now you remember that – and be sure you are willing to wash each other’s feet too.”
So you arrive at your fellowship on Passover and are ready to wash feet (assuming you can even leave your house this year without being arrested). It’s a strange year, isn’t it? Anyway, you arrive there and find someone there before the meeting begins whom you don’t recognize. You sit next to him and introduce yourself. Now bear with me here: he says he’s Judas Iscariot.
OK, I know that can’t happen in 2020, but let’s just assume it could, and now the real Judas Iscariot has come to your fellowship and is ready for services to begin. You’ve been paired up with much-despised Judas, the one who sold our Lord for 30 pieces of silver and betrayed him.
Will you humbly and even joyfully and willingly – wash his feet? Or would you refuse to do so?
Let’s get this straight. I’ve heard some ministers say Judas had left but that’s not true. We read of the foot washing service in John 13:1-10.
John 13:2-4 “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself”
It’s only after the foot washing is over that we read that Satan enters Judas again (first time was in Luke 22:3) and Yeshua tells him to leave and get his business done (John 13:27). But that was after the foot washing, so that means Yeshua washed Judas’ feet.
The name “Judas” is actually a Hellenized (Greek form) name of the Hebrew same name “Yehudah”, which in English we translate as Judah.
This is interesting. Yeshua came to his own – the Jews, -- but they did not receive him (John 1:11). They really couldn’t have because they did not recognize who he really was. So what I’m getting at, this disciple “Judas” or “Judah” – actually perfectly represented his tribe at that time who rejected the Messiah. But the good news is that we’re seeing more and more Jews have their eyes opened and who are seeing and accepting their Savior now.
Right after the foot washing, Yeshua immediately speaks of his betrayer. He certainly knew whom that would be! See John 13:18-19, 21-22. Yeshua quotes from Psalm 41:9 “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.” This was a direct prophecy among many that pointed to Yeshua as the promised Messiah.
Peter had asked John to ask the Anointed Yeshua who the betrayer would be. Yeshua’s answer was John 13:26-30 --“Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.”
A couple things worth noting here. Note something else too: the other disciples used the term “Lord” when asking Yeshua if they were going to be the betrayer (Matthew 26:22). “Lord, is it I?” But when Judas asked, he went with the lesser term “rabbi” (Teacher)—verse 25: “Then Judas, who was betraying him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”
But here’s my point: Judas is definitely present during all this time: before and during the foot washing, and only after identifying who the betrayer would be, did he finally leave.
Let’s pick up the story:
John 13:26-30 Yeshua was aware that Judas’ heart was already turned by Satan himself. Satan was not going to let any other demon have this high-stakes job. If he could make Yeshua sin, what a coup that would have been. So Judas is being egged on – even eventually possessed (v. 27) – by none other than the Prince of Darkness, the god of this world himself: Satan the Devil, or translated – Adversary the Accuser.
Even knowing Judas was being inspired by Satan himself, Yeshua still washed Judas’ feet. Now imagine the scene: here’s the Son of GOD getting on his knees in front of Judas in order to wash his feet. And that’s exactly what our Savior did! How humble and how humbling is that?!! Even to someone he KNEW was already being Satan-inspired, our beloved Yeshua, knowing he had come from God and was going back to God, knelt down below Judas and washed his feet anyway.
Almost hard to believe, isn’t it? And yet that is what John 13 tells us. Already Yeshua is thinking of Psalms 41 where this betrayer is actually a friend in whom you trusted. And what was the first word Yeshua said to Judas later that dark night when he led a group of armed men to arrest Jesus? Let’s read it:
“Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
50 But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?"
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.”
To call Judas a “friend” but not mean it – would have been a lie. Yeshua was sinless. He meant it when he said “friend” to him. Even knowing by this time Judas is actually Satan-possessed, our Savior calls Judas – “Friend”.
So what does this mean to us today?
** Like Christ, we must be willing to serve even those who betray us, slander us, or falsely accuse us and work, as it were, for Satan himself. What someone else does shouldn’t make us stop acting like Christ did: serving everyone. Satan is the Enemy, not any human beings ultimately.
That’s what “Satan” means: Adversary. And “Devil” means “accuser”. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Even someone this bad received some SERVING done by the 2nd highest Being in the universe: Yeshua the Son of God, second only to God the Father.
This was the night Jesus washed even Judas’ feet. And shared a dinner with him and broke bread together. This was the night when Yeshua called even Judas his “friend”. Can you see yourself having dinner with someone you even call a “friend” – but who was about to betray you to the most brutal torture and death imaginable at that time? Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
** Yeshua meant it when he taught us – “Love your enemies. Do GOOD to those who treat you badly. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who are unkind to you.” (Compare with Matthew 5:43-48). All this proves who is your father: God Almighty – or the god of this world. After all, we have the fruit of God’s spirit, including goodness and kindness.
Our Savior is more than impressive. As I said in my Passover prayer after blessing the wine – “Well done, Master, well done.” He is the absolute pinnacle of the way to handle things.
Can you imagine George Washington washing Benedict Arnold’s feet – and calling him “friend” after what he did? This is what’s going on here.
Are you still willing to serve those who have conspired against you? Yeshua did. If Yeshua is in us by His spirit, He will continue to do through you and me what He has always done: serve and love people, even those who work against us. Vengeance is not ours. Don’t take something like vengeance that God says is HIS prerogative, lest you incur His ire. It belongs to God. Our role is to let the fruit of the spirit shine through us – including kindness, goodness, longsuffering, and peace, regardless of what the other has done to us or our loved ones.
Now, who can we call a “friend” – and mean it – to someone who has acted as our worst enemy for so long? Who can we find ways to serve and humble ourselves in front of – though he/she may be less than spirit-led at this point? That’s tough, isn’t it?
The more I learn about Jesus, the more in awe I am of him and the more I want to talk about him. What a great leader, Servant King, Savior, Big brother, and friend we have in him.