March 27 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 62
John 13:1: “…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.” – No better intro today than the Word of God.
READ: John 13-14
John has way more detail in his account of the Last Supper. In fact, chapters 13-17 are devoted to this last rally of Jesus’ apostles. John’s gospel was written much later than the other gospels, so maybe John had a chance to read the other gospels and decided he needed to fill in some stuff they left out.
First, when they arrived for the Passover meal—the Last Supper–Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, from verses 13:2-17. Jesus humbling himself to be a servant to his followers must have really hit John hard. In our culture, we keep our feet pretty clean, but these guys walked on dirt roads in hand-made sandals all day. Their feet were gross! The symbolism in the washing of the feet is twofold: (1) we need to repent and ask forgiveness for the things that make us unclean—sin—so that Jesus can wash away our sin (vs. 13:10), and (2) we should lead by example humbling ourselves before those we are leading.
We see how close John is to the action in verse 13:23. “The disciple whom Jesus loved” is John; he had more than a front row seat, he was sitting right next to Jesus, hanging on every word! He caught that I AM statement again in verse 13:19. And he caught that new command that Jesus gave in verse 13:34-35: “’…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’” All of the rejection, denial, and scattering of Jesus’ disciples in the coming days could have caused a lot of in-fighting among those whose God-intended purpose was to start Christianity. I think this command from Jesus rang in their ears throughout the coming weeks and months and led to unity in their purpose. It played a huge role in starting Christianity, but it should also play a huge role for us. Non-believers are watching us. My son got called out in school today from some kids demanding he react to a controversial editorial in the newspaper; they were just begging for some Christian judgmentalism on this topic, but boldly he did not respond because he knew it was a trap. YAY! When I tell someone I’m a Christian, their first reaction should not be that I’m a judgmental hypocrite. But the actions of a few have impacted all of us. Jesus says they will know us by our love! So, church, we’d better get on it and make people see our love and not our judgment!
The title for Chapter 14 in my Bible is “Jesus Comforts His Disciples.” The comforting words in this chapter are for all those sitting around the Last Supper table, but they are also for us. This is not the end, my friend. The chapter starts with the hope of heaven, a beautiful place He is preparing for us (vs. 14:1-4)! And then it goes right into how we get there—The Way (vs. 14:6). That’s the same “way” the book of Acts refers to the beginning of the Christian religion—The Way.
My Bible has some good extra stuff about these chapters:
“John devoted one-third of his book to the last 24-hour period Jesus spent on earth… Never before had Jesus been so direct with [his apostles]. Around the table he avoided parables and painstakingly answered the disciples’ redundant questions. Never was he more “theological.” He alone fully recognized the significance of this last evening before his death. The world was about to undergo a convulsive trauma, and the 11 fearful men with him were his hope for that world…Jesus kept explaining until at last the disciples showed signs of understanding. God’s Son had entered the world to reside in one body. He was leaving earth to return to the Father. But the Spirit would come and reside in many bodies. Jesus seemed aware that much of what they nodded their heads at now would not sink in until later.”
A hymn from my childhood church: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
God, I thank You for comfort and guidance in John’s account of Jesus’ Last Supper on earth! I pray that Your love would overflow out of my heart so that all may see that You are the source of everything that is good; You are love. I wouldn’t know how to love if You hadn’t first loved me. I am forever grateful that You love me so much!