Would you wash Judas Iscariot’s feet?
Imagine going to your Passover service where there is a foot washing – and imagine with me for a second that you’ve all been paired up with the person you’ll be washing feet with. And … imagine now… to your surprise, you’ve been paired up with the infamous Judas Iscariot, who sold and betrayed the son of God. You have to wash his feet.
How are you feeling right now? Will you lovingly and humbly wash Judas’ feet? If not, why not?
At his last Passover until the kingdom of God, Yeshua (Jesus) washed even Judas’ feet. I’ve actually heard ministers deny this. But why? It’s so clear in Scripture that He did! And what does that mean to us today? It’s definitely worth thinking about and learning from.
We get so focused on who’s “in” or who’s “out” of our particular fellowship and who we think has no business in there, that we forget this point. Judas was the Greek form of his name. His Hebrew name was Yehudah or we would say Judah in English. Judas represented how the Word came to His own tribe, Judah – “He came to His own, and His own did not receive him” (John 1:11). They couldn’t have, because they didn’t recognize him or know who He was. Several scriptures make that clear, so don’t be too hard on the Jews for rejecting him. You might be interested in my sermon (May 16, 2015) about why Jews find it so hard to accept Yeshua as the promised Messiah. There are reasons – and it will help you be more understanding of them.
Anyway, did you realize the Son of God washed his betrayer’s feet? Let’s pick it up in the only gospel account that details the foot washing – John 13. Surely the Son of God would have “picked up” the spirit of Satan working in Judas before the foot washing and afterwards.
“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”
– And then the details are given about the foot washing ordinance.
Right after washing all twelve disciples’ feet, the next thing Yeshua had on his mind was the presence of His betrayer (verses 18-19, 21-22). He even quotes directly from Psalm 41:9 – stating that He was fulfilling the topic of Psalm 41.
“Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.”
Of course we know Yeshua handed a piece of Passover bread to Judas to identify him as the betrayer to a select few of the apostles. Peter had asked John to ask Christ who would betray him.
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.”
Click on “Continue reading” to learn what happens next and how all this applies to us.
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:
“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 to note here:
** Yeshua was aware that Judas’ heart was already turned by Satan himself. Satan was not going to let anyone else have this high-stakes job. If he could make Yeshua fail, 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. 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.