Read John 13
Jesus is on His way home to His loving Father. He’s almost completed the work the Father had given Him to do. But not yet. So on this night before the cross, Jesus intentionally models three lessons hard-lived and never to be forgotten.
First, Jesus will be betrayed by a close friend. Jesus was troubled by this treachery from Judas, one of His own. But Jesus knew Judas was just the pawn of the enemy. Satan had waited for the opportune way to hurt Jesus and he found it in Judas Iscariot.1 Three times the text says Judas betrays Jesus, fulfilling a prophecy that had been written centuries before in Psalm 41:9.
What kind of Savior actually chooses a betrayer to be one of His own?! Answer: Jesus’ journey to the cross included suffering of all kinds, as prophesied, yet now He sympathizes with our pain in every way.
Next, Jesus does the unimaginable during supper. He washes the feet of His startled disciples. In every culture the “lesser” always serves the “greater”—servants serve masters.
What king would wash his subject’s feet? Answer: Jesus, the humble servant, on His way to the cross.
In the final moments of their last evening together, Jesus delivers another shocker: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Hidden in that moment, Jesus loves another faulting disciple, Peter. When Peter protests Jesus’ announcement that He’s departing, Peter brashly proclaims, “I will lay down my life for you.” (Peter often overpromised and under-delivered.) Imagine here Jesus’ tone of voice when He responds, “Peter, you will deny me three times before the rooster crows.”
Who would love someone who can’t keep his word? Answer: Jesus, going to the cross to pay for Peter’s sin and ours.
All of this happened on His last night with His disciples. Jesus would be hanging on the cross by 9 a.m. the next morning.
1John 13:2,11,18-30 and Luke 4:13 2John 13:34 3John 13:37
Consider your response: Can you see the faces of people on Sunday morning…children running around… friends…new people…and even the homeless? Jesus says, “…Love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” How will you intentionally live out this command?
-Written by Richard Nelson