Savior Under Stress

Savior Under Stress

John’s Gospel holds the longest account of the evening before Jesus’ death. His actions paint a picture of someone under a lot of stress. As he washes Peter’s feet and Peter demands his head be washed also, you can almost hear Jesus count to 10 before he responds “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feed, but is entirely clean.”

Jesus continually alludes to the fact that there is a betrayer in the room:

Not all of you are clean.

I am not speaking of all of you. I know who I’ve chosen.

Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.

Do quickly what you are going to do.

The disciples don’t get it. They think Judas has been sent out on an errand to buy more food. Jesus is about to be arrested and they are still believing what they want to believe, not what Jesus has told them. He says,

Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

With Judas gone, the words tumble out–mini-sermons, reminders and admonitions, many of them repeated over and over again as Jesus worked to impress them upon the minds of his disciples and in ours:

If you love me, you will keep my commands.

Love each other, just as I love you.

Abide in me and I will abide in you.

Don’t be troubled, don’t be afraid.

I leave my peace with you.

Servants are not greater than their master.

I am going back to the one who sent me.

The Son of Man has been glorified; God has been glorified in him.

Reading this passage, thoughts and feelings begin to churn in me. Jesus’ words tumble over each other, repeat, emphasize, kneading me like dough. My own confusion grows….how can all this be taken in? I am perplexed, I don’t know what to focus on.

And then Jesus prays. He pours out many of the same words to the Father, asking him to protect us, to shield us from the evil one, to keep us in him.

The work that Jesus begins this night might be for me, but it’s not about me.

Father, Jesus, be glorified.


John 13-18:12 deal with events at The Last Supper through Jesus’ arrest.