The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, September 11, 2020 comes to us from Lynda J. Samuel of Scotland
John 13:1-15 1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
I suspect that all of us have felt let down or disappointed by someone. When this happens, we may be tempted to give up on the person who has made us feel that way. We may feel hurt to the point of despair. But we can choose to maintain peace by turning to God.
Jesus had every reason to give up on his disciples for the inconstancy and their doubts, and he knew of Judas’ plot to betray him. And yet Jesus stayed with them, ate with them, and astounded them by washing their feet. Jesus repeatedly showed loyalty, humility, and love.
We can learn so much by looking at Jesus’s actions. Jesus challenged his disciples, and all of us, to follow his example. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to help us serve and love others – even when we feel like they have wronged us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, strengthen us to love others even when we feel hurt, bitter, or disappointed. Help us to demonstrate your grace and forgiveness. Amen.
Thought for the Day: How will I follow Jesus’ example today?
–from Lynda J. Samuel
Lynda Samuel’s perspective about this famous passage has presented me with an approach that I hadn’t fully considered previously. Jesus’ obvious willingness to serve instead of being served has always reminded me about the approach I am called to live throughout life.
Still, I had missed the element of disappointment that Jesus might have felt because of Judas’ betrayal and the disloyalty of the others. In spite of all that, Jesus came to that holy table and even washed their feet. Through our faith, God calls us to do the same.