On day 27 I woke up at 6am for an epic 12 mile run, then went back to sleep.
I woke up again at 8am to join my wife. She was going to walk a 5k and I was going to run. Instead, I went back to sleep.
I woke up again at 9am and went out for the most uninspiring 5k of my life.
After our trip to the zoo, our kids all stayed overnight at their grandparents’ house. Jodi and I got to have an amazing night on our own… going grocery shopping. With no kids at home, it just seemed like a perfect opportunity to sleep in. We don’t get many opportunities like that around here.
Once I finally got my feet moving, I ended up running 3.2 miles in 26 minutes and 35 seconds, which was an average pace of 8:04 per mile.
While I was running, I was thinking about John 13 and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Several years ago I took some online Bible classes with a prominent Bible school. They were good classes, but in one of my classes I had to write a report on John 13. I got a terrible grade on the paper.
I argued that Pastors should not preach about Jesus washing the feet of Judas, who was to betray him, because it is not something that is clearly seen in the text. In fact, after reading and deeply studying the passage, I had come to the conclusion that Jesus probably did not wash Judas’ feet.
Mathematically, it doesn’t make sense that he was all of the disciples’ feet. Conservatively speaking, let’s say it took 3 minutes per disciple to wash their feet. That is 36 minutes of feet washing after dinner had already been served. The Bible says that Jesus “rose from supper” (see John 13:4) to begin washing feet, and after he is finished he goes back to dipping bread (see John 13:26). I really don’t believe that Jesus made his disciples wait a half hour in the middle of the meal to resume eating. Mathematically it doesn’t make sense.
Neither did he have to wash all of their feet in order to make the point. We live in a world where everything has to be “fair”. The general line of thinking is, “if you do it for one person, you have to do it for everyone.” Well, that is just dumb. The point that Jesus made by washing Simon Peter’s feet was plenty good enough. The Master was willing to be the servant. There was no need to wash all 24 feet in order to make that point.
My guess is that Jesus washed the feet of Peter, James, and John. It would not have been abnormal for the “inner three” to have special treatment, or to be used as an example. By washing their feet, he may have spent nearly 10 minutes in the middle of supper and sufficiently made his point.
He also made it a point during his teaching to point out that not everyone was clean., referring specifically to Judas.
Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” – John 13:10-11
It seems highly unlikely to me that Jesus would have washed Judas’ feet AND made this very obvious statement about Judas not being clean in the same short stretch of time.
So why do so many Pastors teach and preach that Jesus washed the feet of Judas during the last supper? And why did I get a bad grade on my paper for suggesting the opposite?
I think sometimes we are really uncomfortable with the real Jesus.
Yes, Jesus said that we should pray for our enemies (see Matthew 5:44), but he also said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword (see Matthew 10:34).
Maybe Jesus really did wash the feet of his betrayer on the night of his betrayal, knowing that he would be turned over to the religious leaders on that very night.
The Bible definitely does NOT say that he did.
I was bummed out about my bad grade and wondered if I was the only one who read the text in this way. Then several weeks later I went to see a live drama portraying the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. During the drama, at the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of several of his disciples while he spoke the words of John 13. Then, coming to Judas, he looked him straight in the eyes and dumped the water on the ground…
Apparently I am not the only person to think that is probably how it happened.