Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. (John 13:1a)
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. (John 13:3)
For Jesus knew who would betray him. (John 13:11a)
Jesus knew. He knew it was time to finish his life well, with the disciples he had loved during his earthly ministry. He knew his authority and identity in God, his Father. He knew the evil in Judas, one of the twelve. By knowing all these things, he knew what to do next even with evil in the room.
My friend Victor says that sometimes we know too much; that too much knowledge paralyzes us from being obedient, because we don’t act on what we need to before learning another new thing. That’s not the example Jesus set. He took what he knew and put it into action at the right time. This includes the bold move of washing the feet of Judas.
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing?” (John 13:12)
I wonder how Judas responded to this question of Jesus. I imagine he understood what Jesus was doing, especially after Jesus had just told Peter, “Not all of you are clean.”(John 13:11) Judas understood that Jesus was referring to him. Judas likely understood also that Jesus was setting an example for them to follow of serving others (John 13:15). How did this knowledge help Judas? It didn’t.
Judas did not act on what he understood about Jesus. Judas acted on what he understood about himself. He betrayed Jesus in spite of the love Jesus had continually shown him and in spite of his feet being washed by Jesus.
I heard the testimony of a man in India who also thought he understood himself. He had been trained to be a Hindu militant. Part of his training was to disrupt Christian worship, which he did. But when he tore the pastor’s Bible in half and quickly became paralyzed, he understood God’s power! When his militant friends abandoned him but the pastor whose Bible he had torn kept visiting him, he understood unconditional love! When he could miraculously walk again, he understood healing! So he acted on what he understood about Christ. He accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and began sharing with others of his transformed life. He acted on what he knew, just as Jesus had instructed his disciples in the upper room:
Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (John 13:17)
What do you know? Do you understand what that knowledge means for you? I’m so inspired by this testimony from India because this man knew how God had worked in his life and his actions confirmed that his life had been transformed by Jesus. His understanding of himself was made clear when he incorporated into his life what he understood about Christ. Very different from Judas.
Til next week,