By Ji Yun
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
This is the Word of the Lord.
If you knew you had only a short time left here on earth, how would you spend that time? For me, I would spend that time with my family, close friends, and those whom I love. I would use this intimate time by sharing with them how grateful I am for their relationship and how much I love them. I would also take this time to share what is dear to my heart, things that are important in life and the lessons I have learned. My hope would be that my loved ones would take these lessons to heart and live their life to the fullest.
At the beginning of John 13, there is a dramatic change of scenery. We find Jesus with only His disciples, observing the Passover Seder (Jewish celebration of remembering deliverance of God from the bondage and slavery in Egypt). Jesus’ public ministry has ended, and John swiftly changes the scene from Jesus’ public appearances and interactions with the multitude to a small intimate gathering with His disciples.
John does not mention the institution of the Lord’s Supper, as the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke) do. Instead he shares what happened between the institution of the Lord’s Supper and before Jesus being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. To John, what happened between Jesus and the disciples in that precious moment, must be told in order for the future disciples of Jesus to learn the way of the Lord.
JESUS KNEW THAT HIS HOUR HAD COME
Throughout the fourth gospel, there were numerous times that He said, “The hour is coming.” For the first time in John 12:23, when Greeks approached Philip and Andrew, Jesus said, “the hour has come.” If you examine John’s Gospel, this is the most important theme, Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!John 1:29
Jesus recognized that His time to be the Lamb of God has come, and He knew He only had a few hours before the Garden of Gethsemane. Where He would be captured and delivered to the high priest, wrongfully and unjustly accused, and be led to His death.
HE LOVED THEM TO THE END
This night is not a comfortable and peaceful night for Jesus, earlier in that day (Nisan 14), the customary sacrificial lamb was slaughtered at the temple. That symbolism of the lamb being slaughter was the foretelling of His end as the Lamb of God. Jesus had enormous stress and burden on His shoulders, knowing that His time to be the Lamb of God, observing the Passover meal, instituting the Lord’s Supper, and the presence of His betrayer and Satan. All this while looking at His disciples whom He considered His family.
What is He going to share with His disciples? The disciples who will take the good news to the world? This moment would be critical for the Messiah to spend with His disciples, in that what He shares with them will affect the rest of their lives. He would lay aside all the burden and give the most important lesson of all, to be a servant leader. His motivation? The love He has for His disciples.
We often talk about the Love of God, and today’s reading is mainly about Jesus’ love for His disciples, but we can get a glimpse of how He loves those who follow Him today. The lessons end with Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and those who will believe in Him. His main drive for His lessons is His love towards us.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.John 17:20-23
God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.Saint Augustine
He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.C.S. Lewis