Let’s look in on a “family meeting” that took place the night Jesus was betrayed. We call it, “the last supper.” Important things are shared at family meetings and the things Jesus wanted to share with His disciples on the eve of His death were absolutely essential.
Could there be a parallel between the things Jesus wanted to get through to His disciples then and what He wants to get through to us now on the eve of His return? We examined seven last lessons that emerged from the last supper. These lessons may be on God’s agenda for us today in this Covid-19 era.
Rewind to John 13. The first item on Jesus’ agenda was The Royalty of Service. Rewind to verses 1-3. Jesus knew the hour of His humiliation was near and also that the hour of his glory was near. He could have been filled with pride about his exalted position. Yet with the knowledge of the power and glory that was his, he washed his disciples’ feet. At the moment when he might have had supreme pride, he had supreme humility.
Similarly, at a time we might have the greatest pride in our knowledge of prophecy or diet, we are to have the greatest humility and serve our fellow beings.
Knowing that “the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (vs. 3), Jesus could have been filled with contempt for “the world,” and set His affections on the heaven He was about to regain. But it was when God was nearest to Jesus that he went to the depths and limits of his service to men.
Again, the lesson for us is that the closer we get to heaven, the more willing we should be to reach into hell to set the captives free. The wonderful thing about Jesus was that his nearness to God brought him closer than ever to sinners. God is drawn to, not repulsed by, sinners! Jesus wants to get that through to us.
Jesus also knew he was about to be betrayed. But that didn’t stop him from serving his betrayer. He also knew about the rivalry among the Twelve. See Luke 22:24. This knowledge could have turned Jesus bitter and angry towards them, but Jesus met the greatest injury and supreme disloyalty with the greatest humility and supreme love. (See John 13:4-5.) Here we learn that Among the last acts of the church before Christ comes is to gird ourselves as a servant and perform the servant’s part. There is no fear when we engage in loving service.
Lesson two: The Essential Need to be Clean. Peter refused at first to let Jesus wash his feet (Jon 13:8). We must let Jesus wash our sin away or we have no part in His kingdom. Peter requested a bath, but that was unnecessary. Baptism is equivalent to a “bath” and represents justification. Guests at a feast normally took a bath before arriving at the location. Their feet, however, would be soiled along the way. They only needed their feet washed.
This represents the Christian’s need to deal with the soiling that comes from daily contact with the sinful world. Those who have been justified need continual renewal in that justification as life goes on. But the good news is that our shortcomings do not nullify our justification. We only need to wash our feet not bathe again. The fact that Jesus told us to wash each other’s feet indicates that our cleansing from sin and selfishness involves our forgiveness of one another! There’s no fear when we’ve been washed by Jesus.
Lesson three: The Commandment to Love (John 13:34-35). This commandment is every bit as important as the 4th. In fact, if you fail to love, your Sabbath keeping is worthless. God can raise up sabbath keepers out of the stones, but His true sons and daughters love each other. There is no fear in love.
Lesson four: The Promise of His Coming (John 14:1-3). Corona is not the Omega; Jesus is. Corona may have a part, but Jesus wrote the play and will be the One to call it done. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. We know Who wins. Trust in God. There’s no fear when you know Jesus is coming back.
Lesson five: The Priority of Prayer (John 14:13-14 ). If there was ever a time to call on the Lord, it is now. We can pray in confidence, knowing that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand, ready to execute those things we ask in His name. There’s no fear when you call on Jesus’ name.
Lesson six: The Promise of His Spirit (John 14:16, 17). The promise of continual companionship and counsel through the Holy Spirit removes all fear.
Lesson seven: The Gift of His Peace (John 14:27). For the second time that evening Jesus uttered the words, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Let His perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge—including Covid-19.
These are the seven lessons Jesus desired to teach His disciples on the eve of His humiliation. And now, on the eve of His triumphant return, we must understand these same essential lessons: the royalty of service, the essential need to be clean, the commandment to love, the promise of His coming, the priority of prayer, the promise of the Spirit, and the gift of His peace. And if we do, we will have no fear.
Pastor Randy Maxwell