Holy Week Family Devotional: Wednesday
Q: Have you ever had a friend who turned on you? Maybe they gossiped about you or joined a bully in making fun of you or something like that. How would something like that make you feel?
READ: John 13:21–30
Q: How do you think Jesus felt about one of his closest friends turning Him over to the people who were trying to kill Him?
Q: Why does God continue to love people even though they turn their backs on Him?
Judas was one of Jesus’s closest friends, and they were really close. Jesus and His twelve disciples weren’t just regular buddies; they lived together all the time. It was kind of like how you might live with a group of friends at summer camp or at boarding school. They traveled together all over Galilee. They worked together all day, ate all their meals together, did everything together. Jesus was their rabbi (which means teacher), but He was much more than just a teacher. He was like a father to them, and He loved them like His children. And they all knew He was the Messiah, God come to them in human form, so they respected Him as their Master, Lord, and as God Himself.
But Jesus wasn’t surprised that Judas betrayed Him. The Bible tells us that a year before His death, Jesus knew that “Judas was a devil” (John 6:70). But we don’t see Jesus treating Judas any differently than He treated any of the other disciples. How could He keep letting Judas live with them and travel with them and eat with them every day when He knew Judas was a traitor? What do you think Batman would do if he found out Robin or Alfred was a traitor?
Jesus didn’t try to hurt Judas or get revenge or have him arrested. He didn’t even kick him out of the group! He kept teaching him and loving him and treating him like a beloved son, just like He treated all the other disciples. The very same night that Judas was going to betray Him, Jesus washed his feet.
Washing someone’s feet was worst job for the lowest servant in the household. Not something the master ever did. But the night of the Last Supper, Jesus knelt down and washed His disciples’ feet to show them that even though He was their master, He loved them enough to serve them. He was showing them that the way to love people God’s way was to serve them.
But Jesus went even further, because He included Judas in that footwashing. The Bible says that at the beginning of that night, the devil had already put in Judas’s heart to betray Jesus. And in the middle of the meal, Jesus would send Judas away to do it. He would let Judas go betray Him. But He didn’t send him off right away. First, Jesus washed his feet.
Why? To show the disciples that the love that comes from God is not only a serving kind of love, but a serving kind of love for your enemies too! That is radical, crazy love, isn’t it? To serve even the person who has hurt you, who makes you frustrated or angry or drives you crazy or is just difficult to love. But that’s the kind of love God has for the world. It’s the kind of love God has for us. The Bible says He died for us even when we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8). Even before we loved Him and followed Him. He didn’t just die for His twelve closest friends. He died for the whole world, so that anyone who believes in Him would have eternal life (John 3:16).
If we want to love people the way God loves, we have to serve everyone we meet, even the people who don’t treat us well. We have to put their needs ahead of our own. We have to not only say we love them but show our love through our actions—even our enemies. That’s the amazing love of Jesus.
(OPTIONAL) PARENT STORY: Describe a time when you showed love to someone who “didn’t deserve it” because they had mistreated you.
ACTIVITY: Make a list of people who have hurt you or who are difficult for you to get along with. Pray for those people and then think of something you can do to serve them.
PRAY: Dear God, thank you so much for dying for us even while we were still your enemies. Please give us the strength to love our enemies the way you love us. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).