"If I then, 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 to you." (John 13:14-15)
It sounds so easy doesn't it? Just go on and wash the feet of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love one another. Pray for your enemies. We've become so overly familiar with some of the Bible stories that perhaps we miss the offensive and painful positioning of them.
In John 13 we see a great "story."
Jesus goes low and humbles himself before His friends and disciples as he intentionally and purposefully begins to wash the feet of those He'd been doing life. However, this isn't simply the story where you wash the feet of your awesome best friend or your loving pastor. This story looks a little different.
Most of us know how it goes.
After a little discussion with Peter (which also intrigues me), one by one, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples.
I can't help but wonder about the feelings of Jesus as He looks Thomas in the eyes, the one who would doubt Him soon. Then James the one who will take care of his mother after his brutal death. Then Peter, one of His closest friends who although he is zealous and pledged allegiance unto death will so very soon deny Him. And even Judas the one who would betray Him ultimately leading to His bloody crucifixion.
Sometimes I think that we forget that Jesus had emotions too. It's illogical to think that He didn't have a grasp of the physical pain He was about to endure, but also that He didn't feel the stab of betrayal as His followers and friends rejected Him.
A few weeks ago I was reading through John 13 again, moved by the humility of Jesus. Moved by the fact that the Son of God CHOSE to humble Himself this low. Low enough to wash the feet of those that should be serving Him.
I was meditating on all of this driving down the road as God asked me a question.
"Jessika why did I wait to reveal that someone was going to betray me until after I had washed their feet?"
I stopped and pondered.
I wanted to scream because you're insane. What on earth causes GOD to wash people's feet in the first place, but even worse washing the feet of those who you knew were going to betray you.
He responded, "I deliberately chose to wash Judas' feet."
Right after washing their feet, Jesus revealed that one would betray Him. Right after this Judas' leaves. If Jesus had chosen to reveal that someone would betray Him before He washed their feet then He wouldn't have had the "opportunity" (I use this word purposefully) to wash the feet of Judas.
Jesus modeled a principle here that offends my mind. He modeled intentionally humbling yourself to serve those around you regardless of what they do to you. It's not a foreign concept to us as we read the qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13 that we should believe the best and keep no record of suffered wrongs. Yet somehow we graze over this and find ways to justify our negative treatment of others.
I've come to a place of realization that if Jesus washed Peter and Judas' feet then I simply have no excuse for most of the reasons I've chosen to be offended in my life. I'm on a journey. Well, I guess I've been on a journey for a while now. A journey that intentionally chooses to humble myself and serve in spite of pain, betrayal, accusation, rejection, or any of the like. A journey that chooses to not allow the actions of someone else to lead me into offense or bitterness. It doesn't mean I don't feel pain, it means that it pain, I prioritize love.
What does life look like when we choose not to be offended? Or a step further what does it look like when we serve the very ones who hurt us unintentionally OR intentionally?