One of the aspects of the Passion Week that stops me in my tracks is the way Jesus treated Judas.
John 13:11 tells us, “For he [Jesus] knew who was going to betray him…” Jesus knew Judas would be the human agent of His arrest, the moment that would set into motion the most painful moments in eternity. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him. And yet…
Jesus washed Judas’ feet.
Jesus shared the Passover meal with Judas.
Jesus didn’t sic the other disciples on Judas. (Can you imagine what Peter would have done to Judas?)
Jesus loved Judas with the same fidelity as He showed the other 11 disciples.
Jesus knew what Judas would do–and still loved him.
I know Jesus was fully God and fully human, but I am still amazed at Jesus’ capacity to love Judas. He served Judas. Washed Judas’ feet. Didn’t out him to the others.
In my humanity, I would have reacted differently. Maybe I’d refuse to wash Judas’ feet. Or give him the last and smallest piece of bread. I know I would make Judas sit as far away from me as possible. However, tradition tells us that Judas likely sat to Jesus’ left, in the seat of honor. (Yes, I know tradition is fallible.) Now I don’t know if that was intentional on Jesus’ part, but I would have been playing Musical Chairs to get Judas away from me.
But that’s not the heart of Jesus.
The living, breathing heart of God incarnate loves indiscriminately. Without pretense or prejudice. He offers forgiveness and mercy and grace. Restoration. Relationship. Communion and union. Community. As Jesus demonstrated love to Judas that last night and included him in the fellowship of that inner circle, he was demonstrating the lengths to which He will love people. Including you and me.
The living, breathing heart of God incarnate loves indiscriminately.
I’m no more faithful than Judas. I’m prone to seek out my own agenda. I want God to meet my expectations. I’m worry about money. My actions may not be as extreme as Judas’s, but I am equally in need of forgiveness to cover my multitude of sins. I need mercy and grace and healing and restoration. I need divine love.
And hallelujah, God offers it to me. And to you.