At this Last Supper, Jesus shows the “full extent of His love” and demonstrates the non-negotiables of what it means to be His follower.
READ JOHN 13:1-17
The 3 main characters at the table in this scene: Jesus, Judas and Peter. There are also 3 main objectives with motives: redemption motivated by love; betrayal motivated by disappointment and greed; control motivated by pride. The first is in opposition to the last two because they come from hearts not authorized with an eternal perspective and divine devotion. The latter 2 cost nothing. The first will cost everything.
At this Last Supper, Jesus shows the “full extent of His love” and demonstrates the non-negotiables of what it means to be His follower and what it means to represent Him as a servant in His name. Ironic that while in the mode of a servant, Jesus leads the way of how His disciples should live.
He displays both natures as Master and Servant without sacrificing the character of either. For Jesus, both are displayed seamlessly and interchangeably. He never became something He wasn’t. He was and will always be the Master, but there will also always be an aspect of His serving them, the absence of which will make it impossible for them to serve to His satisfaction. Essentially we find our greatest fellowship with Christ when we let Him be who He is and let Him have His way without resistance and without aid.
Jesus must serve those who follow Him: Peter’s resistance to letting Christ have His way is met with the gentle rebuke and ultimatum: “Peter if you get your way, You will not share in mine!”
A choice must be made: either to press for autonomy and insist on our way of doing things, countermanding the direction of Christ, or to submit with humility to whatever Christ deems is necessary for us. This is the mode of submission that begins with the defeat of pride, ego, self-rule.
Jesus is clear: to share companionship with Him, we must be clean and He must do the cleaning. Sidestepping that will actually put us at odds with God and in danger of furthering an agenda that conflicts with His. The tragic results will be a lot of work with no or negative eternal rewards, and worse, no fellowship with Christ. Christ will always stand in vehement opposition to what opposes His perfect will…even that opposition is with one who walks with Him! This is the main goal of life: to be with Christ, to share life and purpose with Him. If that is the heart’s true intent, Jesus the Master must be also Jesus, the Servant.
We must let Him do what only He can do. Peter came to that reality reluctantly and still held on to his own way. That proved fatal to his desire and ability to truly serve Christ since he would do so only on His terms.
Those who follow Christ must serve each other. Christ was also clear on the application: those who are cleansed by Christ and now share life and purpose with Him, must show this by serving fellow followers. Jesus absolutely expects His followers to love and serve each other as He loved them. (John 13:34-35).
In the subsequent chapters the theme of loving one another will be dominant. Jesus gives an example and expects it to be emulated. We are to do for each other what He did and does for us. He verifies His identity as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ but also clarifies His example as the standard operating procedure for those who are His. Our mode is servanthood. Our immediate beneficiaries: fellow followers. It is obedience to Jesus’ example, the humble serving of one another, that truly honors the presence and purpose of Christ and guarantees His promised blessings.