Good morning my friends. As we draw closer to the events of the cross we come across the scene of Jesus' last supper. This would be the last moments he had to relax and instruct his disciples. In Jesus' own words, these were the ones who, "who have stood by me in my trials." (Luke 22:28) Jesus called them friends. For three years they ate, slept and served together. There were moments of frustrations as they failed to see things with Jesus' understanding but there were also moments of great clarity, moments of laughter, moments of heartache. They experienced much together in three short years. This was a very private and personal moment Jesus had with them as his time ticked down to his last few hours with them.
This one moment had such an impact on the Apostle John that he devoted a large section of his gospel, 5 chapters, just to this last meal with Jesus. Most of us realize that it was here that we find the beginning of Communion, the act of physically remembering the sacrifice of Jesus but do you realize some of the other last minute teaching Jesus gave his disciples or perhaps reminded them?
Jesus gave them instruction on the Kingdom model of leadership, that those who wish to lead must serve. It is a model we would do well to remind ourselves of today. This is when he washed his disciples feet in an act of love and humility to demonstrate in a practical manner the heart that is necessary to lead in the Church.
He taught on the necessity of his departure. It was only by leaving that he would be able to send the Holy Spirit, to take his followers to a new level of relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is only a deposit to guarantee the promises he had made. He also had to leave to prepare a place for us for when all things will be brought to a conclusion. His departure was a bitter sweet sorrow but the Holy Spirit would allow him to remain with us in a way that he could not be in the present form.
He reminded them that he is the only way to the Father. There is no other way, no short cuts. Only one path, one gate. He made it very clear for all of us that the only way to the Father is through the Son.
He taught on the Holy Spirit and his purpose. Along with being a deposit to guarantee the promises he is also our connection with Jesus and Jesus with us. The Spirit is the one who brings conviction and teaches us. The Spirit unites and empowers us.
He taught on the need for obedience and he gave the promise of peace. He explained through the beautiful illustration of the vine how we are connected to him, dependent on him and will die without him. He warned the disciples of what would result from the hatred of the world but gave the promise that they would overcome as he was about to overcome.
Jesus also promised his disciples that the grief they were about to experience would turn to joy. He warned Peter of what was about to happen but then he told him that he had prayed for him, that his faith would remain strong. He told Peter that when he turned back he was to strengthen his brothers. In John 17 you will find an incredible pray that Jesus prayed for himself, for his disciples and then for us. He also warned his disciples that the season was changing. Where they were able to go without purse and sword before they would need both now.
All of this had to with others. On the eve of his arrest and torture Jesus was more concerned that his friends were taken care of. Like anyone who is assured of the promises, Jesus wanted to make sure that everyone would survive, that they would make it, that they would remember and would continue to live. He did not want to lose any of them. This is our Saviour, our Lord, who is constantly concerned and occupied with us. The cross was not about Jesus but about you and me. He was a servant to the very last breath and he served us. In turn he expects us to serve one another, to serve the world. This is the Saviour we worship and adore. We worship him because he is God; we adore him because of what he has done. Today, share some bread and pass the cup in remembrance of his sacrificial love.