John 13:35 (HCSB) “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Early one morning as I was praying about a situation, God spoke to my heart and had me read the story in John 13, when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. I had studied this passage over the years and one truth that stuck out to me; Jesus washed ALL of their feet! Peter, Andrew, James, His beloved John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas the one to betray Him.
The truth that Jesus served His enemy, the one to betray Him, had such an impact in my personal life that I was compelled to share it with our Deaf ministry.
I asked for twelve volunteers and designated one to be Peter and another to be Judas. As their teacher, I put on an apron, grabbed a towel, pitcher of water and bowl and got on my knees and humbly washed their feet. I looked into each of their eyes with love and after I dried their feet I signed, “I love you”.
I explained that I imagine Jesus, who is full of love and compassion, looked into the eyes of each disciple showing them what LOVE looks like. I imagine when Jesus got to Judas, He tried looking into his eyes but Judas was full of selfish pride he could not look at Jesus. Jesus continued to serve Judas with the same love he shared with the others. After this Jesus said, in John 13:13,“Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.”
When the Lord first revealed this truth to me, I was extremely upset and said, “Lord, I CAN’T serve the one who has betrayed me. It’s not fair. I can’t! I won’t! The hurt is beyond anything anyone should have to experience!” Then He spoke gently to my heart and said, “Daughter, I know you can’t but if you learn from Me, I will show you how and in time you will be able to truly love and forgive this person.” I had thought I forgave but when the Lord showed me this story in John, I realized true forgiveness is seen through my actions. I surrendered all my pain, my “right” to hold a grudge and asked my ABBA to help me forgive as He forgives. That day I was set free from bitterness and love filled my heart for the one who betrayed me.
I believe the Lord wants us all to learn from this story. It’s easy to love and serve those who love us. It’s easy to forgive those who seek our forgiveness but what about the one who doesn’t. What about the one who has hurt you and won’t admit their wrong. We must ask the Lord to give us His heart to forgive, love and serve them too,and by this the world will know we are His disciples.
Lord, heal my pain, my scars that are so deep and help me to forgive as You forgive,love as You love, and serve as You serve. The world is watching. May they see You through me. In Jesus name!