Day 13 – Nick
Summary of Chapter 13
Verses 1-17: If you needed any convincing of the importance of the dinner table, (aside from all heart-warming Bisto adverts), just flick back and re-read chapter 12 and then this one, or read Acts and note the centrality of food within a sharing community of prayer – it’s all about the dinner table! But this is no ordinary dinner table; it’s the dinner table for the Last Supper, the last, that is, until we share at the marriage supper of the Lamb when we’ll get to drink the new wine of the new heavens and the new earth in the new City of Jerusalem! (see Rev.19:9).
All things will be made new, contrasting starkly to this low-lit, ancient upper room. Imagine the anxiety and stress and even fear building within Jesus at what was ahead for Him personally. He knew it all. Oh, the Beautiful Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! What darkness He went through, what anguish of heart, what pain, what loneliness and isolation – Literally unimaginable in the extent of pain and agony….what a Saviour, what a Friend, what a Redeemer! The least we owe Him is our very all.
In this deeply moving moment, akin to the Great Condescension of Philippians 2 fleshed out before our eyes, Jesus demonstrates the theology of leadership: Imagine The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, The Alpha and Omega, The One Who made everything from nothing, The King of the Cosmos kneeling down before sinful man to wash the feet of His friends. How we need this heart today with ‘Christian Celebrities’ left, right and centre. Classically ‘Pete’ in response, Simon Peter didn’t get it until Jesus the Teacher graciously explains and then he really got it! Peter’s all in! (Peter would have punched Christian celebrities in the face btw).
And you are clean…
Jesus’ words of verse 10 echo His words in chapter 15:3 that, in believing, we have already been made clean! How do we ever forget how it must feel to not be clean. (See Ephesians 2:12). As the antithesis of Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act 5 Scene 1 of Macbeth (“Out, damned spot!“), Jesus proclaims a physical, mental, spiritual cleanliness that is tantamount to utter paradise.
And yet, Jesus was about to go to hell – verse 30
And it was night
Verses 18-30: Things have turned darker, and maybe a candle goes out, as Jesus explains the presence of a traitor and literally Satan himself, (verse 27). This is like the worst horror movie humanly imaginable. Though the scene carries a sense of ‘religious familiarity’ (which is a killer for us) be assured that this is pure, undiluted horror as a friend of Jesus is personally possessed by Satan and chooses 30 pieces of silver over the freedom from sin and hell. Evil is thick but so is beauty.
Verses 31-38: We have to imagine and meditate on the depth of this growing anguish of Jesus (see verse 21 and Hebrews 12:3), and the sense of dread that He’d have had. But corresponding to this was the growing clarity in Jesus’ mind and teaching that, verse 31
Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him
All of this is leading somewhere terrible and all of this is leading somewhere glorious: every scene, every person, every worshipper, every betrayer and on-the-fence-bystander is within the Sovereign gaze of God Almighty.
Key thoughts from Chapter 13
- Following on from yesterday’s post, slowing down to meditate and imagine the gospel scenes is a crucial part of our spiritual discipline and growth. Therefore, imagining the beauty of this scene as Jesus’ servant-heartedness is displayed, holds much promise for us, especially for those who might find serving difficult to express within leadership. Leadership without this condescension simply isn’t leadership. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not Jesus’ leadership.
- Equally, imagining the horror of this scene is important. In our lives it is very easy to feel confused or even bereft of Jesus’ guiding presence at times. This is why the writer to the Hebrews says for us to consider Him who endured such sinful opposition from man…this isn’t just for us to be able to imagine the pain and suffering (though we should) but to also fill us with a rock-solid confidence that, having done this already for us, that Jesus surely is mindful and able to sort every other single thing out…in our lives and in the Nations! Hence Romans 8:32,
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Prayers from Chapter 13
Oh God, imagining Your Son on His knees is beautiful to us. Imagining the kiss of Satan on His cheek is appalling and abysmal. Imagining Him in hell is beyond our comprehension. But we consider Him today, we remember Him and recall the depth of Your love for us that You’d give Someone as precious and beautiful as Jesus to rescue us from the pit. We love You for the cross! We love You! May our love root us to the floor on our knees as we seek to disciple and build your kingdom. Amen.