Love Beyond Betrayal: the Gospel According to Doctor Who

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come  to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved  his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,  rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  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 13:1-11

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Doctor Who is one of my favorite television shows ever.  There are a few episodes where the Doctor will say something or have a speech and it comes across to me in a powerful way.  The Series 8 Episode, Dark Water, is one of those.  In this episode, The Doctor’s companion, Clara, completely betrays him and his trust and everything about their relationship.  She does this willingly out of complete desperation.  Then the conversation goes like this:

Clara: You’re going to help me?
The Doctor: Well, why wouldn’t I help you?
Clara: Because of what I just did, I just…
The Doctor: You betrayed me. You betrayed our trust, you betrayed our friendship, you betrayed everything that I’ve ever stood for. You let me down!
Clara: Then why are you helping me?
The Doctor: Why? Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?

WHAT?!?!  Am I watching Doctor Who or am I listening to a sermon?  At this point there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference.  I first heard this and immediately had to back it up and listen again.  What a picture of grace and love this is.  I immediately thought of Jesus and His willingness to help us.  His willingness to serve us and save us in spite of knowing that we absolutely will betray him

In the Scripture I posted above, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples KNOWING that Judas already had it in his heart and a plan in place to betray.  KNOWING that Peter would deny him 3 times that very night.  KNOWING he would be turned over to be mocked, tortured, and killed.  And in that moment Jesus is washing their feet.  He’s serving them and preparing to sacrifice himself for them.  He’s reaching out in love.  He’s giving the commandment to love one another.  Love beyond betrayal.

We’ve all been betrayed.  We have all betrayed someone else.  We’ve all betrayed Jesus.  And yet, Jesus looks at us and says, Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?  That’s TRUE love.  It’s true when we are not.  It’s true when we are surrounded by lies and deceit.  It doesn’t fail.  That’s the love that Jesus has shown and given to us, and that’s the love He has called us to.  Love that reaches beyond the betrayal we feel and says to our betrayer, “I care for you no matter what.  How can I serve you?”

Can we do that?  It’s not easy.  But if we will humble ourselves before the LORD, He will give us that kind of love.

Love Beyond Betrayal: the Gospel According to Doctor Who

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