Wednesday in Holy Week
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. Or ” He showed them the full extent of His love.”(NLT). (John 13:1)
A fascinating statement made by the Apostle John. When he wrote this Gospel, he highlighted this incident as Jesus “showing the full extent of His love.” What made this event so special?
Firstly, it was a conversion of the covenant. The Passover was the celebration of the release from Egypt, an end to captivity, an everlasting tribute to God for filling His promise.
During the exile the Passover became a symbol of faith that God would restore again the fortunes of Zion, setting the people free from their captives and returning rule to the Israelites. For the Jews re-establishing their rule would be God’s way of truly showing His love for them.
In many ways we have adopted the same philosophy. For us salvation is God restoring us to our position given us in Genesis 1:28 where we were given dominion. This Dominion is best expressed when we have power over our enemies. Power over our adversaries, addictions, competition, other beliefs or worldviews. For us Genesis 1:28 puts us in control.
It was this belief that kept the Jews going during Roman occupation, the belief that the Roman’s would be overthrown, and the Jews set on the Throne of David. For the Zealots, and there were two among the Disciples, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot (the Dagger), this would be done by force. They were expecting a conquering King, one who would forcibly, using the armies of the heavenly host, think of the battle scenes won by God in the Old Testament, with an army that was outnumbered – David and Goliath as an example. They expected Jesus to go to Jerusalem and conquer it.
But Jesus had a different battle plan in mind. One that the Disciples did not and could not understand and one that we battle with. In the re-defining of the Battle plan at the Celebration of the Passover Jesus was inaugurating the Kingdom. A kingdom of Humility, Justice and Mercy. A new order, not by force as the Roman’s ruled, but in love as God rules and God is love. And so Jesus showed them what love looks like. HE showed them how love would bring an end to the suffering of this world.
He took off His outer garment, this is an act of humility, He wrapped a towel around Himself, an act of servanthood, and He washed the disciple’s feet.
Jesus said, “and now I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred one on me:” (Luke 22:29). A kingdom where the King comes in humility, riding on the colt of Donkey, washing people’s feet and giving His very life for the salvation of the world.
This kind of love cannot be overthrown. This kind of love knows no bounds, you cannot love more than to lay down your life for another.
But it was not love that Judas sought. It was revenge. It was not humility that Judas sought, it was power. It was not mercy that Judas sought, it was justice.
But Jesus washed Judas’s feet. And He loved Him till the end.
The Passover lamb was eaten every year as the great symbol of God’s power over the Egyptians and the victory that crossing the Red Sea brought. We continue to Celebrate the Lord’s supper/communion/Holy Eucharist, with this transformed understanding of the Passover Lamb – Jesus the Son of God, the Servant King. AS we confess that we who are many are one Body for we all partake of the one bread we are accepting our place in the Kingdom that has been conferred on us.
A Kingdom of Love, humility, mercy and grace. The true power of God. Power not over the things of the world but power to transform them and give them new life.
Today as we prepare for the Passover, what transformation is God at work on, in you. What is Jesus washing from your feet. What is Jesus calling you to, as He sets you free from the past and leads you through your baptism into the world of Freedom in Christ?
May the Spirit of God lead you as you seek to deepen your understanding of yourself and your God and His love for you.