HANNAN: On washing the feet of Judas

Lisa Hannan

Have you ever served someone who has wronged you, mistreated you, spoke badly of you or betrayed you? If yes, then you have, in essence, washed the feet of Judas.

Most people know the name “Judas” is from the Bible and that he did something terrible. That is why the name Judas never makes the Top 10 list for “baby names.” But many do not know that Judas was one of the 12 disciples whom Jesus selected. Judas followed Jesus, lived with Him, traveled with Him and did live with Him up close and personal for approximately three years during Jesus’ earthly ministry, and then Judas betrayed Him.

Of course, Jesus knew Judas would betray Him when He selected him because Jesus knows all things. Even Judas’ betrayal was part of God’s sovereign plan for humanity.

Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do My own will.” (John 6:38)

In the book of John, we read about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. In biblical times, it was customary for the "servant" or "slave" of the house to wash the feet of any sojourner visiting the home. Their guest's feet would be covered with dirt because of the dusty terrain.

During supper one night, Jesus’ disciples sat around debating who amongst them was the "greatest." Jesus, being the Greatest of all and wanting to illustrate a principle, chose to wash the feet of all 12 disciples. Through that illustration, Jesus taught the disciples that anyone who seeks to be "great" must first be humble and a servant of all.

When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet that night, He chose to wash the feet of Judas, even though He knew Judas would betray Him that very night. Jesus always kept before Him, His Father's will and not His own. He willingly set aside His own feelings to fulfill His heavenly Father’s greater purpose and receive a more excellent, eternal reward – the salvation of humanity through Jesus’ death on the cross.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus told His disciples, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you …” (Matthew 5:44) and Jesus did that very thing when He washed the feet of Judas.

During supper that night, the Bible says that the devil "put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.” (John 13:2-3)

The “spirit” of Judas, which is the spirit of Satan, is still alive and active here on earth, and he puts into the heart of some people the desire to do evil in the sight of God and man. The Bible tells us in the book of Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (people), but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Your enemy is not your boss, your spouse, your kids, your in-laws, your neighbor or your co-worker. Your enemy and my enemy is Satan himself and his spirit that seeks to "steal, kill and destroy." (John 10:10)

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” (Matthew 5:11)

I have been “blessed” to be able to wash the feet of Judas several times in my life to this point, but never in my own strength; always in His, by choosing to set aside my personal feelings in a matter and keeping God’s greater purpose in mind – to honor the Lord Jesus His Son and point others to Him. Easy? Absolutely not! Possible? Most definitely, in the strength and power of the Lord. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Grab your wash basin my friend. I am sure there is a Judas in your life who needs their feet washed.

Lisa Hannan lives in Valdosta with her husband, attorney Miles Hannan, who has been practicing law in Valdosta for more than 30 years. She has a B.S. in psychology from Valdosta State University. You can find her at www.lisahannan.org.

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