Why does it always seem like the ordinary becomes extraordinary around Jesus? How is it He can take a simple thing like a meal and turn it into something that leaves us speechless and astonished?
We already knew this Passover would be different. How could it not? We entered Jerusalem in the middle of a parade! People were calling out from every direction:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
We couldn’t believe our eyes! Men started to cut palm branches and lay them out before Jesus. If they didn’t have any, they laid out their outer cloak instead! I doubt many of those cloaks were of much use once that donkey trampled them. The people didn’t seem to care though. They cried out even louder.
I could almost swear I heard angels among them…but that’s impossible.
The past few days have been a blur. I’m starting to get used to walking around in a bit of a haze with Jesus. Sometimes I think I understand what He’s talking about, but most of the time I find myself second guessing everything I’ve ever been taught.
Tonight we have to find some place to eat the Passover. Jesus, of course gave us specific instructions and the man we talked to seemed to already know we would be guests in his upper room. It still amazes me how Jesus knows what will happen.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had the Passover meal with our teacher. It’s been three years since we started following Him, listening to His teachings, seeing and experiencing things that are simply not possible.
Tonight…just feels unique. Something inside keeps stirring, the anticipation of something incredible and terrible all at the same time is about to happen.
New covenant in His blood? What does He mean “in remembrance of me”? I don’t understand. Is He leaving us? Why can’t we go with Him? Doesn’t He want us with Him anymore?
Despite our lively conversation, Jesus silently took off His outer robe and wrapped a towel around His waist. His silence was contagious as the whole room hushed in a matter of moments. We could hear every drop of water pouring into the bowl before Him. Without a word, he began washing everyone’s feet.
I’ve seen Him feed thousands, raise the dead, heal the lame, the deaf could hear, cast out demons, and calm the Sea with only a word, but this! How could He possibly stoop down and wash our feet?! He is our teacher!
We’ve been traveling miles and miles every day. Our feet are caked with dust and grime. Why doesn’t He have the servant of this household do this? Why now after we’ve already eaten?
My head is once again swimming by the time He kneels before me. Kneeling at my feet! I told Him not to do this. I could hardly believe any of the others let Him wash their feet, but I was going to stop this now! As always, the uncanny firm gentleness in His voice tempered my spirit.
I wanted to cry when He began to wipe the encrusted muck from my feet, cleaning in between even my toes. How could He lower Himself to do this to His servant? I should be washing His feet, not the other way around.
He finished in silence just as He had begun. No one dared to speak. Donning His outer cloak, He sat before us once again. It didn’t seem like anyone even took a breath. We waited. He spoke.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
Our heads began pounding with confusion. Questions seem to lead to even more questions instead of answers. Where has Judas gone? What on earth could be so important for him to leave at a time like this? Jesus seems to know where Judas went, but He seems so…I don’t know.
We’ve seen Jesus sad and upset, but this is deeper…like all of the world is crashing in around Him.
I guess He caught me staring, because He flashed that knowing sideways smile, telling me everything will turn out the way it should. I have seen that smile so many times in three short years.
It was there when He told my mother-in-law to get up from her bed, even though she was close to death. It was the same look He gave me when He told me to step out of the boat in the storm. Here it was again. My heart filled with a familiar, inexplicable peace. Oh how I wish I could stop time and hold on to these precious moments. Capture this peace and never let it go.
But I can’t shake His Words nor this ominous feeling that He is leaving us…I leaned into Him, desperate for answers…
“Lord, where are you going?”
“Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Later? “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
“Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”
I don’t know what I felt stronger. Anger or sadness.
How could He think, of all people, that I would deny Him? Which of these men have proclaimed that He is the Son of the Living God? Stepped out of a boat into a raging sea?
In the midst of my swirling rampant emotions…He flashed that smile along with it a deep well of sadness in His eyes.
“Come now; let us leave.” John 14:31b
If we were there…would we understand the significance of that night? Looking back we can see how all the pieces click into place, but would they’ve click in our hearts?
This is the night when three years of ministry and miracles culminates. In the next few hours, the whole world will change. The King of kings will submit to God’s creation.
He will submit to death. Not for His sake, but for ours.
If we were there, would we proclaim Him boldly? Or in fear, hide our faith?
We don’t need to wonder. We answer that question every day.
We know when we deny Him. Our silence before an opportunity to witness…is denial enough.
Thanks be to God. He flashes that all knowing smile. The salvation of the world does not rest on us and because of Jesus, all things will turn out the way they should.