In chapter thirteen of the Book of John, we come to the section commonly known as the last supper. Jesus returned to Jerusalem to bring his friend Lazarus back from the dead, knowing full well this would be His own death sentence, since the Jewish leaders were plotting to have Him killed.
“Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.” John 13:1 (NIV)
Knowing His time was short, he gathered His twelve disciples together for a meal. Jesus never stopped teaching and this evening was no different. Jesus began by offering a dramatic demonstration of the kind of sacrificial love He wanted to leave behind with His disciples. Taking on the task of a common servant – something a superior rabbi would never do in this culture – Jesus went around the room and washed the feet of every disciple.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14 (NIV)
Jesus was telling the disciples that we are all the same – there is no superior – we are all here to serve one another. After this, Jesus began to hint that one of the disciples had an ulterior motive and He made an announcement that shocked the whole group.
“After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” John 13:21 (NIV)
As they began their meal together, Jesus was talking privately with two of the disciples and revealed that Judas was the one who would betray Him. At that moment the devil took possession of Judas and he left the group leaving the others alone with Jesus.
With the evil one gone, Jesus provided the remaining eleven with His most profound teaching. Returning to the servant theme that started the evening, Jesus offered up a one sentence summation of His entire message. This one tool is the single most important thing Jesus ever said, and it should be the foundation on which we all stand firmly as we seek to follow Jesus.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)
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