We call it the Last Supper, when Jesus spent his last times of fellowship and friendship with his disciples. The last meal for a condemned man because Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen the next day.
Social Media is full of snarking about Easter eggs not saying Easter or something and Christians warbling on about their rights as gay people or straight people or whatever. These are all important things but maybe not this weekend. Because here is the Son of God, humble, emotional, overcoming fear and holding on to the fact that he was returning to his Father.
The quotes are from The Message – John 13 onwards
Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end.
With all that had occurred and all that was to occur – these men are described as his dear companions. Not men chosen just to preach the Gospel – but his dear, true friends.
Jesus then, in an act of extraordinary selflessness and humility begins to bend down and wash the disciples’ feet – including the feet of Judas who was still there. No-one else had offered, they called him Teacher and Lord and yet no-one jumped to serve him. So he served them. He put his own feelings aside and knelt at their feet. Even at this time, when he must have been glimpsing a shadow of a cross every time he turned his head, he lived the example.
After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. “One of you is going to betray me.”
The first time Jesus wobbles. He becomes upset, not because of what was to come but because of the betrayal, by one of his friends. Then again he takes control. He hands Judas the bread – Judas is sitting close enough to him to be handed the bread directly; not skulking about in the background, Was he still weighing it up? Or keeping up appearances? But, the moment Jesus passes him the bread, the balance tips. The Bible says that Satan entered. Judas left. The disciples were mainly ignorant but Jesus knew time was short.
Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me.
As the time runs away, Jesus tries to give them everything he thinks they will need. Don’t be thrown by what you are about to see, I will not leave you alone, you mustn’t worry about me – no one has any power over me.
And even as they are walking towards the garden where his betrayal will occur, the teaching continues, the words come tumbling out as if he is driven to tell them everything they need to know before he is snatched away – he tells them they will be able to pray directly to the Father, he tells them that he has conquered the world and he also tells them that they will all leave him in his hour of need. And then he prays for them. A prayer for his followers that will continue to resonate with Christians.
The whole thing is extraordinary, such selflessness, the Son of God shot through with humanity.