Imagine you’re with Jesus to share a meal, and, all of a sudden, he wants to wash your feet! I think I would have been a little bit like Peter, aghast at what the Messiah was doing. In those days, a lowly servant was the one who would cleanse the master’s feet. After all, in those days, dusty roads and sandals would leave dirty, smelly feet.
But Jesus’ response surprised me. Did it surprise you when he said, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” What does that even mean? Clearly, the lesson Jesus intended from this experience went beyond having clean feet or doing something nice for others. To not belong to Jesus would be a frightening reality.
It’s always good to remember Jesus’ resurrection. It’s one of the key passages to our faith. Notice that Jesus told his disciples what would happen, but they were still surprised when it did. Doesn’t that speak volumes of the integrity in Jesus’ promises to us as well?
Who do you most identify with in this passage? Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, the disciple Jesus loved (presumably John), Thomas, or the disciples in general? How do you respond to the news of Jesus’ resurrection?
Did you get goosebumps or simply weep when you realized Jesus was praying for you in today’s reading on prayer? It doesn’t matter that we weren’t one of the followers walking in person with Jesus. We are walking with him now! What a beautiful plea on our behalf to God the Father!
Jesus would have precisely known the right words to say. He knew the human frailty that limits each of us. He had firsthand knowledge of the evil one’s schemes to mess us up and get us off track. What applied to his closest followers also applies to us when we accept his call on our lives, that is when we devote ourselves to living the Great Commission we read about in our reading from Acts 2.
Jesus is not going to leave his disciples (or us) alone as orphans. Our reading today kicks off our new theme of “The Holy Spirit & Prayer.” We see exactly when and where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples. It was during his last meal with them. He was dropping a lot of truth bombs on them that night. Jesus was cramming some important stuff into this time with them.
You know how it can be when you’re getting ready to leave after a visit. You think of all the things you wanted to say the whole time but either didn’t find the right time to say or simply ran out of time. Either could be happening here. But clearly the disciples are starting to get a little nervous. The things Jesus was saying that night must have left them with more questions than answers.
Even Jesus’ own disciples couldn’t see the whole picture. Admittedly, it’s a big ask to accept that seeing a man, their friend, means they’ve seen God. That’s why it can be hard for us, who have not spent weeks and years in Jesus’ physical presence, to wrap our minds around the fact that Jesus is God.
This whole scene takes place on Jesus’ last night with his friends. It’s like he’s trying to pack everything into his last few hours. So much is about to happen that will totally rock their world, their faith. Jesus is doing all he can to help them, and us, be ready for the onslaught of the world’s lies and deception.