As things move forward, we will begin to understand the full measure of love Jesus poured out for us. We’ll also get a closer look at the intimacy Jesus shared with the disciples, despite their flaws. Their hearts will be…
Awakened to future truths
Moved by Jesus’ love for them
Disillusioned at the heartless religious leaders
Devastated by the cruel actions of the Romans
Grieved by what their Lord is enduring.
On Thursday, Jesus and the disciples leave Bethany and head back into Jerusalem. It’s a full day and night of activity. Jesus has removed Himself from the multitudes to spend time alone with the disciples. They will follow Jewish tradition and celebrate Passover, just like they have always done.
Here’s the breakdown of what the evening looked like…
- Jesus and the disciples make Passover preparations (Matthew 26:17-19)
- Jesus and the disciples eat dinner together (Matthew 26:20-29)
- Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20)
- Jesus foretells His betrayal (John 13:21-22)
- Jesus predicts Peter’s denial (John 13:31-38)
- Judas flees (John 13:26-30)
- Upper Room Discourse (John 14-16)
- Jesus’ intercessory prayer (John 17:1-26)
- Jesus prays in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
- Jesus’ betrayal and arrest (John 18:2-9)
- Peter cuts off the slave’s ear (John 18:10-12)
- The disciples flee (Matthew 26:56)
I know that’s a long list, but the night was full of activity and I didn’t want to leave anything out. You may want to read the references at your convenience. Blogging is not the place to go too deep or be too wordy, so I will capitalize on a few of these events.
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20)
This is one of the most touching scenarios recorded in the Gospels. We should pour through this account again and again. I love what John says: “Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end” (John 13:1). After dinner, Jesus knelt down and began to wash the disciples’ feet.
When Jesus came to Peter to wash his feet, Peter objected at first. Why did he do this? Well, this was highly unusual for a teacher, and especially out of the ordinary for Jesus. Peter seemed to be disturbed by it. But Jesus quickly told Peter that if he wanted to have intimate fellowship with Him, then he needed to let Him wash His feet.
I love Peter’s response: “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet” (John 13:9). Peter couldn’t imagine having that fellowship he had known for three years cut off.
Do you want deeper fellowship with Jesus? Then you need to let Him wash your feet, too. You need to allow Him access into the inner chambers of your heart so He can cleanse out the ugly stuff.
Upper Room Discourse (John 14-16)
Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching the disciples about future things. They needed this information as they would soon be called upon to continue the ministry Jesus began. They would be the pillars of the early church. We need this information, too, because they passed the baton to us and it is our responsibility to carry it as far as we can. And the truths Jesus presented will surely help us bear fruit and remain strong during these difficult days.
Some of the teaching took place in the Upper Room, and some took place as they walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus told them about the Holy Spirit that would come to help them, warned them about the persecution they would endure, exhorted them to remain in Him, and admonished them to obey His commands and love Him. It is imperative that we study these teachings. Because without embracing them, we will never be the bright lights for the kingdom work God intended us to be.
Jesus prays in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
There are two instances where Jesus prays. 1) On the way to the Garden (John 17). This is a beautiful prayer as Jesus pours out His heart to His Father on behalf of His loved ones. And 2) after they arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane. I wanted to touch on this one using Luke’s Gospel account.
After they arrived, Scripture tells us that Jesus took Peter, James and John (His 3 inner circle disciples) with Him further into the Garden. It was very late at night and the disciples kept falling asleep. Luke gives us a detail that only a physician would pick up on: Jesus “was in such agony that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). There’s a medical term for this called hematidrosis.
Read the definition: “Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form, which constrict under the pressure of great stress. Then, as the anxiety passes, the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture and goes into the sweat glands.”
Knowing what was ahead of Him, Jesus was in such agony that He actually did sweat blood. Still Jesus prayed to His Father, “I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42). He didn’t try to change God’s will, but He surrendered to it. Have you surrendered to God’s will yet? It’s the best decision you and I can make.
Are you still with me? Because I want to cover one last event…
Jesus’ betrayal and arrest (John 18:2-9)
There are just a few things I would like to bring out in this picture that I want you to ponder. I’m going to list them and then it would be good if you write down what each means to you.
- A contingent of Roman soldiers, led by Judas, came to arrest Jesus. Contingent was usually around 600, but on this night, there probably wasn’t that many). In this crowd no doubt were many religious leaders as well and curious spectators. Why would they give Judas so many soldiers for one man? Perhaps it was because they foresaw a riot taking place.
- Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss.
- Jesus went willingly.
- He told them to let the disciples go.
- Jesus identified Himself as I AM! This is the same I AM that God identified Himself to Moses. This identifies Jesus as God.
- The people fell to the ground when Jesus identified Himself.
- Compare Jesus’ words to Peter earlier “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41) with Peter cutting off the servant’s ear.
Oh my goodness! In just these few verses, we learn so much. I hope you’ve read to the end of this post.
I know we covered a ton of ground today, and believe me, there’s so much more. I can’t wait to turn all this into one awesome Bible study.
Stay with me, Friends. This journey will be well worth it.
I must tell you that I have a wonderful Bible study, Peter: From Fisherman to Follower. I would encourage you to get it so you can learn so much more about the early days when Jesus walked on the earth.