Betrayal. One word. Three syllables. A dictionary full of pain – a world of hurt that many know only too well.
A broken confidence. A ruined relationship. A shattered heart. Betrayal comes to all and when it comes it comes out of nowhere — a tidal wave of hurt wiping away what we once thought solid and firm.
Betrayal’s pain is heightened by the loss of a relationship once valued and precious. A friend we loved. A partner we trusted. A parent we believed. An acquaintance we admired. Someone we served or perhaps a beloved co-laborer in ministry. In all cases, we lost a relationship we treasured and valued.
The pain of betrayal is heightened in that we never saw it coming. We missed all the signs. We suspected nothing. Trust blinded us to what others were seeing. Belief led us to dismiss warnings that came from time to time.
Instead we loved. Served. Trusted. Hoped all things. Believed all things. Refused to think evil. Until everything came crashing down in an unexpected, devastating moment of betrayal.
Most of us have loved and served a betrayer at some point on our lives. But as we washed their feet we had no idea what was coming our way from their hand. No clue that unbearable pain from them was about to eradicate our present joy in them.
That is what makes the account of Jesus washing Judas’ feet so amazing. Not that He washed the feet of one who would ruthlessly and brutally betray Him — but that He did so fully knowing Judas’ intention to do so in a few short hours.
If we have washed the feet of a betrayer, we have done so unwittingly; Jesus did so with full knowledge and certitude.
Amazing love! Grace beyond measure and comprehension.
But there is more — there was another betrayer besides Judas whose feet were washed that night. One who would deny Jesus. One who would lie about his association with Jesus. One who would seal his denial with a curse. And Jesus knew this ahead of time as well. In fact He had predicted that it would happen. And in the story these two betrayers take center stage: Judas and Peter.
And since we are naming names we might as well name our own. We have betrayed. Some reading this may have betrayed a dear friend or brother. All of us at some point, like Peter, have betrayed our Lord.
Jesus washed the feet of His betrayers. All of them. Judas. Peter. And me.
Judas ran from the one he betrayed. Peter responded to Him and found restoration.
We can’t run far enough to outdistance betrayal. Counter to conventional wisdom, betrayal is a wound not even time can heal. There is only one remedy — restoration. And there is only one source for this remedy — Jesus.
Even when our attempts to fix a broken earthly relationship appears to fail, He is eager to fix our relationship with Him. He doesn’t just patch it up, He fully restores it. Good as new! Better in fact. Just ask Peter.
Jesus is good at washing feet…and souls. He is the master healer. And if you start with Him He won’t end with you! The gospel is a promise to all those in Him that we will be eternally restored to God and one day, to one another.
So what are you waiting for? If you need to be restored to someone, it has to start sometime. Why not know? Maybe your efforts to restore a broken relationship with another won’t yield the result you desire — for now. But now is not the end if the story. No is not the final word on the matter. One day all our earthly tears will be dried and our broken, hurting hearts healed. Washed away by One who Himself was betrayed.
Betrayers who are now Beloved! No wonder they call Him Savior! What a joyous wonder we can call Him Friend!
[Today’s guest post is written by Sam Horn, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota. Sam posted these thoughts on his Facebook page this morning and was kind enough to let me re-post them here.]