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When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:20-21
Yesterday, as I read about Jesus' Last Supper with His disciples, I found myself in awe. Once again.
Jesus knew He was about to suffer. A painful death.
He also knew that His friend Judas would betray Him into the hands of the enemy.
Yet, Jesus served him. He washed the feet of his friends. Yes, their feet! He made sure they knew that discipleship meant nothing without love and serving one another.
Jesus also knew that Peter, one of His closest friends, would deny Him three times the next day. THREE times, y'all!
How could Jesus serve, love, and minister to these friends that would eventually turn their back on Him when Jesus needed them most?
That's the part that baffles me. My flesh doesn't understand how He could love and humble Himself to that extent knowing what was to come.
I desperately want to love like Jesus. Yet, my flesh fails me many days. My pride wells up and I feel that familiar wall forming when I have been hurt by someone's words or actions. The last thing I want to do is go and minister to them. And to even imagine washing their feet---are kidding me??
But, Jesus is our example, friends.
When our flesh wants to take over, we must walk by the Spirit. We must remember Jesus and how He loved, served, and forgave. Jesus forgave without any reason to forgive. He didn't wait for people to apologize, He forgave immediately. Without hesitation.
Yes, it is radical. Yes, it is not of this world.
Which is exactly why we must follow His example.
We are supposed to stand out and go against the grain of the world.
This kind of love is foreign to the world. They see it as weakness.
Oh, quite the contrary.
It takes the utmost strength and Power of God to walk in love, forgiveness and servanthood. Our flesh is not capable, but by the power of The Holy Spirit we are.
Paul tells us in Galatians, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."
My need to forgive someone is what eventually drew me to God's Word. I was stuck in unforgiveness. I was angry and bitter towards this person. My faith was stagnant because of my flesh and my stubborn pride.
When the Lord opened my eyes to the woeful condition of my heart, I was broken with sadness. Yet, He did not just want me to forgive this person. He wanted me to show them love as well. Yep, He sure did.
It took every bit of my dependence on Him for me to do this. And I mean EVERY bit. My flesh screamed in agony the whole time.
Oh, but the blessings that flowed after I [finally!] walked in forgiveness.
Now, if I even suspect a hint of yuck going on in my heart, I immediately take it to the Lord. I never want to go back to that dark place of unforgiveness. It's not good for me or anyone else.
Back to Jesus.
As He hung on the cross, with people spewing insults all over Him, He whispers to His Father, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:24
What if we prayed the same prayer to our Father in Heaven today. What if we asked Him to forgive those that have hurt us, used us, broken our hearts, broken our trust....
Let's nail that junk to the Cross today. Let it go. Let it die.
Now, watch Jesus restore your heart like never before.
Be amazed at what He will do when you decide to let it go.
And, don't be surprised if He asks you to show some love to them. He may or may not ask you to reach out. Just be listening for His direction.
I'm praying for you. I'm praying for me. I'm praying for all of us. What a day to do this--Good Friday.
nailing it to the Cross,