Reading

  • Luke 22:14-21, 23-30
  • John 13:1-21
  • Matt. 26:22-25; John 13:22-35
  • Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38
  • John 14:1-31a
  • Luke 22:35-38
  • Matt. 26:20; John 14:31b
  • Matt. 26:31-35

Devotional

As the Jewish day transitioned from Wednesday to Thursday (Jews measured days from sunset to sunset), Jesus and His apostles met in the upper room, that Peter and John had prepared, for a pre-Passover meal. At the conclusion of the meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it,  broke it and told the apostles to eat it because it is His body. Then He took the cup and did the same thing, telling them that it was His blood which was shed for the forgiveness of sins. By doing these things, Jesus was setting up a memorial for His disciples, for all generations, to remember His death and its significance and purpose.

The disciples argued over which of them would be the greatest in the coming kingdom of GOD. In order to teach them the true meaning of greatness, Jesus got up from the table and took a towel and a bowl of water. He went to each disciple and washed and dried their dirty feet. Peter initially resisted, not understanding the significance of Jesus' actions, but Jesus insisted that Peter must allow Him to wash his feet or else he'd have no part of Jesus. Peter then said, "Not only my feet, Lord, but my head and my hands."

Jesus explained that, in GOD's kingdom, greatness comes by service. If the Lord and Teacher of all lowered Himself to the point of washing dirty feet, so also His disciples must lower themselves and serve others as needed. That's how one becomes great.

Afterward, Jesus identified that one of them would betray Him, and after John asked whom it was, Jesus pointed out that it was Judas, and then sent him out to do it. Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to change his ways and repent of what Satan had put into his heart, but he was unwilling. By this point it was now night.

With Judas having left, Jesus began to explain once again what was about to occur. He told them He would only be with them a little longer, and where He was going they could not come. The apostles didn't understand what Jesus meant or where He was going. No doubt these were troubling words to hear for this group of men who had left all to follow Jesus. Jesus was the center of their world, and now He would be taken from them...He would leave!?!

Jesus gave them a new commandment, that they should love one another as He had loved them. That way—by their love—the world would know that they were His disciples.

Peter asked Jesus where He was going and Jesus repeated that, where He was going, Peter could not follow. Peter insisted that he would follow Jesus wherever He went, and Jesus told him there that he would deny knowing Jesus three times that very day. Peter insisted that he would follow Jesus both to prison and to death, but he was wrong.

Jesus comforted the apostles, telling them not to worry, that He was going to prepare a place for them in GOD's house. He assured them that they knew the way. Thomas replied that they didn't know where Jesus was going, nor the way to get there. Jesus famously said, "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

The disciples continued asking questions of Jesus and He continued teaching them. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to help them, teach them, and remind them of all Jesus had taught them.

Having concluded His thoughts and with time running out, Jesus had them gather supplies, including swords, they sung a hymn and they left the room headed for the Mount of Olives.

On the road, Jesus told them they would all fall away on account of Him that night, and that when He had risen, He would go ahead of them into Galilee. Once again, Peter insisted he wouldn't fall away from Jesus, regardless of what others did, and Jesus reminded Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. All the other disciples echoed Peter's promise to die with Jesus before they would abandon Him. They were all wrong.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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