On Thursday we remember Jesus final meal with his disciples before his death. Jesus prepares for this meal with deliberate intent. He knew his time had come. (John 13:1)
“Go and prepare for the Passover.” Jesus tells his disciples. “Enter the city and follow the man carrying a jar of water. When he enters a house, speak to the owner of the house on my behalf. ‘The Teacher asks to use your guest room for the Passover.’”
The disciples found the furnished upper room just as Jesus told them. They prepared for the Passover.
Jesus behavior on this critical evening would forever redefine the Passover for his followers. He begins the evening with a remarkable demonstration of the servant spirit that marked his entire life. He removes his clothing and wraps himself in the long linen towel used by the house slave assigned to wash the feet of the guests. Jesus, Master, Teacher, Rabbi becomes the slave. Not a servant, but a slave.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant
The stunned disciples do not know how to respond.
You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.Jesus explains. (John 13:7)
Peter refuses Jesus’ ministrations.
Jesus presses Peter into participation. Having completed his task, Jesus puts on his clothes and addresses the spectacle.
Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.
Do you understand what I have done for you? he asked them. You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Thus begins the Passover, the Last Supper.
This is an intensely personal time.
I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
Jesus redefines the familiar traditions in terms of new meaning. “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
He speaks of betrayal and denial and challenges their dispute about who is the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”
As you rehearse this day, allow the Holy Spirit to bury in your heart kingdom thinking.
If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.