The Last Supper is a story that many of us are familiar with at some level. In the book of John, the Bible reveals that Jesus begins to reveal fully what love means. To a modern reader love is a very confused and confusing subject. We tend to think of love emotionally. The happy feelings that I have when someone handsome, charming, or thoughtful gives attention to me is love. Of course, these happy feelings are not love. Love endures when the happy feelings won’t come. The focus on gaining personal happiness and the increase in divorce in western culture might be related. The happy feelings are best labeled ‘infatuation’ and are more commonly linked with poor self image and narcissism. The language that we use in these situations betrays that the focus is on what we receive rather than what we give. The challenge is whether we could still ‘love’ if we received no words of affirmation, kind smiles, or thoughtful acts from the ‘object’ of our love.
Jesus’ love is entirely giving. He takes on the actions of a slave, even though he is a respected teacher. He washes the feet of one person who will betray him to death and another person who will deny him. He also reveals more clearly what he will endure. His endurance, though, is love. Because of Jesus’ self-sacrificing love his disciples will be transformed.
Does your love exist for the sake of others in spite of themselves? Does your love exist for you? The truth is that we have lost ourselves in trying to love ourselves. It is in loving others that we most truly learn who we were created to be. It is in increasingly loving the ‘hard to love’ that we deepen our spiritual maturity. Jesus shows that ultimate love knowingly enters into suffering for the sake of the unknowing and the ungrateful.
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,[c]God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
- How does Jesus reveal the nature of his love?
- Describe Jesus’ love in your own words.
- Describe the love of Jesus’ disciples in your own words.
- How has Jesus shown love to you?
- How does Jesus’ love affect you?