Lenten Devotional – The Fifth Sunday in Lent – Washing an Unclean Disciple
Key Bible Verse: “… (Jesus said) ‘You are clean, but not every one of you.’ …” –John 13:10b
Bonus Reading: John 13:1-20
Jesus has preached His last message to the crowds. Now He spends one final night before His suffering and death with His disciples in the upper room, preparing them for what is about to happen.
In the middle of supper Jesus does something totally unexpected. Taking off His outer garments He goes around the table washing the disciples’ feet one by one, the way the lowliest slave in the household would. It is a demonstration of His absolute humility, love and care—a demonstration He will repeat for the whole world the next day on the cross.
For Peter it is too much. He objects and receives a firm correction from Jesus: “If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.” Then Peter goes to the other extreme asking Jesus to wash all of him. Jesus points out that the one who has had a bath does not need to bathe again, only to wash the part of him that is unclean.
Jesus is pointing to Judas, the one who has abandoned his Lord and become unclean and is even now awaiting the chance to betray Him. The other eleven are forgiven, cleansed of their sins because they still walk in the light by faith; Judas has rejected that light and walks in darkness. Very gently Jesus reaches out to His lost disciple in an unforgettable demonstration of His love, forgiveness and acceptance. It’s a demonstration He wants Judas to remember when he is gripped by guilt and remorse for what he is about to do.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive my wandering heart. Help me to see Your great love for me and remember what You have done to save me. Amen.