“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Peter says, “Never shall you wash my feet.” Jesus says, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” Entrance into heaven is based on Christ’s service to us. His sacrifice on our behalf is His undeserved love extended. Unless He removes our sin, we stand stained before God. Jesus says, “What I have done for you is sufficient.” We can’t earn or supplement or maintain Christ’s cleansing with our religiosity; our works are a response to God’s free gift. St. Francis said his overindulgent pursuit of holiness made him less Christ-like than by a simple application. I used to fast to be a good Christian, but after hours of no food, I became irritable – nothing like Christ’s attitude. I needed a cheeseburger just to be a Christian.

What was going through Judas’ mind as Jesus washed his feet? Note that an outward washing did not affect his heart. Was Judas a helpless pawn in the hands of the evil one? When Jesus picked the twelve disciples, it says Jesus knew one was a devil. Judas wanted to know how much money they would give him if he betrayed Jesus. It says that Satan entered Judas, which means rather than allowing the Spirit of Jesus to fill him, he kept himself empty spiritually so the wrong spirit could enter. Satan can oppress and tempt, but not control a Christian.

We try to explain away Judas’ character flaws and mismanagement of Jesus. The temptation was laid before him, whether it was his greed, thwarted ambition, his disenchantment with Jesus’ disinterest in political power, or whatever else. Judas decided to let the devil have his way. It’s the same battle we face. Instead of justifying Judas or ourselves, why not just surrender our character flaws to Jesus? All of us mismanage our faith at some point. Allow God to forgive you and redirect your life.

Adapted from “Core Basics from the Upper Room” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis