The most disgusting, vile chore in Jesus’ day was washing feet. Regular run-of-the-mill Jews would never stoop so low. It would be insulting to even ask someone to wash their feet.
Washing feet was always assigned to the lowest, most bottom-of-the-barrel servant in the house. The one who cleaned up everyone else’s mess. In Jesus’ day Gentile slaves could be made to do footwashing in a Jewish household, but not a Jewish slave. Slaves were looked down upon in the ancient world but Peter could not stand the thought of his teacher doing the work of a slave.
Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
If this wasn’t bad enough, Peter was probably livid when Jesus stooped down and began washing Judas’s feet. Judas hadn’t sinned yet, but Satan had already prompted him to betray Jesus to the Roman soldiers.
AS this scene played out, Jesus took off his garments, wrapped a towel around his waist, bent down and washed Judas’s feet. He later leaned in and kissed Jesus on his cheek, and betrayed his Master. Then the soldiers grabbed him up and hauled him off to be crucified.
Though Judas ultimately showed remorse later, his motive seemed to simply be greed. He received 30 pieces of silver for agreeing to betraying Jesus. His name ultimately became a symbol for traitors and turncoats throughout history.
Judas and all the disciples missed the magnitude and meaning of Jesus’s message that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. I think a lot of modern day people do too.
Jesus was demonstrating God’s love, sacrifice and humility when he allowed Judas to betray his Master into the enemy’s hands.
In his Gospel John writes in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
That’s exactly what Jesus was doing in the Garden that night, showing his disciples and Judas and you and me what sacrificial love looks like.
Now the question for all of us is
Would you wash Judas’s feet? Think about all that goes into your answer.