No man ever had his patience tried so thoroughly as Christ did when dealing with the continual weakness and failure of His disciples. Yet His love for those who come to Him in faith is infinite and unconditional.
It is this way because it was never dependant on our effort or goodness but on His unchanging character.
During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:2-5)
Jesus was willing to wash Judas’ feet. He knew Judas would betray Him. He knew that Judas’ actions would lead to His torture and death on a cross within 24 hours. But He washed Judas’ feet just the same.
Jesus also knew that all of His disciples would abandon Him before breakfast. But He washed their feet anyway.
He new Peter would deny Him publicly. But He still washed Peter’s feet.
There are a number of important things we learn about Jesus from this incident.
First, Jesus is willing to tolerate wickedness for a season. He can do this without panic because He sees the beginning from the end. We are sometimes knocked off balance by the evil we see around us – and the evil done to us.
Sometimes we feel that the only course of action is immediate action.
Sometimes that is true. But sometimes it is wiser to step back, say nothing and entrust ourselves to God who sees the beginning from the end.
Second, Jesus is willing to hold off from exposing our sin for as long as possible. While the gospel is peppered with “gotcha moments”, the Lord’s deepest desire is not to humiliate but to redeem.
Third, such patience from Jesus typically includes a plain and measured warning to those who are straying.
This is love in action. Love does not delight in evil but seeks to cover and wash away a multitude of sins.
And so, we have no reason to hesitate in coming to Jesus. He who loved us at the first loves us to the last.
We have no reason to not come to Him throughout life and let Him who sees everything, see our dirty feet.
Jesus does not shy away from us in our weakness. He doesn’t cross the street when He sees you coming. And, He has left an example for us to do likewise with each other.
To overlook, to cover, to cleanse and to forgive – and so prove to be His disciples.