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broken heart November 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Mark 14:12-17; Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:7-14; John 13:1-20; Mark 14:18-21; Matthew 26:21-25; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-30; Luke 22:24-30

Love and Betrayal

These are two opposite extremes, of course. How is love manifested? Love is often connected with emotions. We may feel “in love,” but emotions can be deceiving. Love is also expressed by words. Words of love are nice and may fill the sails of our souls, if they are sincerely meant. Other people express love by gifts. Gifts given are good expressions of love and are appreciated, but a person cannot buy love. Others feel loved when they are touched. Every person needs to be touched, but some touches are not expressions of love. Still others express and receive love by acts of service. Acts of service are much appreciated if they are done with the right motivations. Love is expressed in a variety of ways, but love is best manifested through actions done with genuine love, and these actions often involve sacrifices (the five expressions of love mentioned above are adopted from The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman). Through his sacrifice on the cross Jesus offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).

Betrayal, on the other hand, may start with love or a pretense of loyalty and love, but it manifests itself with actions that are deceptive, self-seeking, hateful, and destroying. Jesus is an example of ultimate love. Judas is an example of ultimate betrayal.

Jesus, knowing that he was soon going to die, held a last Passover meal with his disciples. He did not seek to be alone to sulk; he wanted to be with his friends. John 13:1-5 records the scene:

It was just before the Passover Feast.

Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (NIV)

What was this - God serving man? We can well understand Peter’s reaction: “Lord, you will never wash my feet!” (John 13:8, NIV). Jesus is the one to whom the disciples should be serving; Jesus was their Lord and teacher! When Jesus made the accepting of his service a matter of identity with him, however, Peter gave in to him. Why did Jesus take on the form of a servant?

First, as was mentioned, he wanted to show them the full extent of his love. It is very loving to perform a humble gift of service. Those who are parents of young children or adult children of elderly parents often perform this beautiful act of love. The disciples would certainly always remember the Lord washing their feet. He could have arranged for a slave to do it. He could have asked one of the disciples to do it. After all, didn’t Peter, James, and John have a particular problem with pride? No, Jesus did it; Jesus personally washed their feet. One could imagine him gently massaging their feet as he washed and dried them. Who could forget that? And Jesus washed twelve pairs of feet, even Judas’s feet. Did Judas also feel the full extent of his love? No, the devil filled his heart. Not all people are grateful and feel genuine love.

What was Jesus trying to teach the rest of his disciples by this act of service? John 13:12-17 gives us the answer:

When he [Jesus] had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. “You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (NIV)

Second, Jesus knew that he would be going away. He knew the disciples might be jockeying for power. It certainly would be difficult to have pride, disunity and hatred for each other if they were washing each other’s feet or doing other acts of service for each other. In the same way members of families, churches, and other organizations can also benefit by performing humbling acts of service for each other. Even if they do not feel like doing it at first, many times hard hearts melt as they meet the needs of others. There is joy and unity in serving.

Betrayal, on the other hand, is an act of hatred, division and ingratitude. Judas Iscariot had the unique privilege of living with Jesus every day. It is difficult to believe anyone could harden his or her heart when walking with God, but it does happen. Indeed, there are “Christians” who come from godly families, go to church regularly, and who play the part of being believers for years but do not have real personal relationships with Christ. In truth, they are unbelievers and deceivers. When times are tough they are the most dangerous to have in our congregation or family. They will betray us if it is beneficial to them. They need to be challenged to a full commitment to Christ or be encouraged to move on. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke so strongly to his disciples about the cost and commitment of discipleship. Are we fully committed to the Lord? Will we love and serve him or will we betray him?

Lessons to live by:

  • Love is expressed in a variety of ways, but love is best manifested through actions done with genuine love, and these actions often involve sacrifices. Through his sacrifice on the cross Jesus offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • Not all people are grateful and feel our genuine love. Some will betray us. We must bear with it.
  • Members of families, churches, and other organizations can benefit by performing humbling acts of service for each other. There is joy and unity in serving.
  • Those who cause division and hatred in a family or organization need to be challenged to make a full commitment to Christ or be encouraged to move on.
  • If Jesus, the Messiah and Son of the living God, their teacher and Lord, was humble enough to wash the disciples feet, we should be able to humble ourselves in service to others.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

John 13:14-15, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (NIV)

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