I believe vulnerability is so important, especially in the body of Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that my victories (and even my processing toward my victory) can encourage and inspire others along their own journeys.
This all started a few months ago when I started diving in to the book of John. Usually the Holy Spirit leads me to read a particular book in the Bible and won’t let me leave that book until I feel a release. In this past season I have eaten up the book of John, and tried to imagine myself in every scenario with Jesus that John writes of.
Of all the times that I’ve read through this book, this is the first time that the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet grabbed my heart and would not let go (John 13). Much like most people I know, the foot-washing-Jesus story has been preached to me a hundred times, in many different ways. But it wasn’t the actual foot-washing action that arrested my heart – it was the fact that Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and yet He washed his feet and loved him still. John 13:1 says that Jesus knew it was His hour (which meant He knew Judas would betray Him that very night), and yet “…He loved them until the end.”
It doesn’t say that Jesus “loved the disciples that loved Him” or that Jesus “loved because He had to” or even that Jesus became jaded and put up walls and then struggled to love. It states clearly that Jesus LOVED “the world” and it is everyone in that world (Judas included) that He gave His life for (John 3:16).
I stewed over this for several weeks, wondering how I had never really thought about this situation with Judas before. I had asked Holy Spirit to make what I read very real to me, even as if I was there with them. My desire was to feel what the disciples felt, to be overcome by love for Jesus the man, much like that of the Disciples John and Peter. And yet my heart was constantly drawn to the betrayal of Judas and the love that Jesus still showed him.
“But Jesus was GOD divine, so He HAD to love,” I first thought to myself. The Bible is clear that Jesus was fully man and yet fully God. My mind wondered if it was the “fully God” part of Jesus that gave Him the ability to love Judas despite what He “knew” was in this man’s heart. That’s quite possible; but at the same time Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the fully human side of Jesus as well. This Jesus, Who wept when His friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). The same Jesus, who in a fit of righteous anger overturned tables in the temple (Mark 11:15-18). Jesus, who pleaded with the Lord to take away the “cup” if it would be His will (Luke 22:42). A Jesus, who after fighting off the devil himself with truth in the wilderness, still needed angels to come and minister to Him (Matthew 4:11). Jesus obviously had human emotions, and I believe that He most certainly felt the sting of the absolute betrayal of one of His closest friends.
And yet....He loved Judas until the end. And He bent down to serve him.
I wondered, while marinating in this, if I could do the same.
(Are you ready for the vulnerability now?)...
Read the rest here to find out…
~ Mandy Woodhouse