THE TABLE: preparing for Easter
Towards the end of His final week on earth, Jesus shared a special meal with His disciples, most likely celebrating the Passover together in an upper room. Over this table, in this powerful last supper, Jesus reveals himself to the disciples in a whole new way.
He is our perfect example of a servant and calls us to live in the same way.
Despite the anguish before Him, He is a comforter, consoling the disciples, and speaking of what lies ahead. Here we have the promise of life in Him alone.
We read the promise of a life connected to Him, bearing fruit as we remain in Him and His words in us. Not cut off as they may soon have felt, but forever joined.
Not only this but Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, one who will come after Him and remain with the disciples, empowering them for greater things.
Finally, we have this beautiful prayer as Jesus pours out His heart for us to the Father.
Take some time as we journey towards Easter to read over the chapters recording this time in John 13-17. Look for things you may not have seen before. Trying reading with others and discussing what you find together. Above all, let the Holy Spirit bring fresh perspective on the incredible love Jesus showed for you as He went to the cross.
Some tips and extra info to help in this time:
First, vary your reading of these chapters, and consider multiple approaches:
– try reading it all in one go (should only take 15 mins or so)
– try reading in a different translation to what you normally use
– find the passages in an audio version and let it play over a number of times as you drive or exercise (the free YOUversion app has audio versions available)
– try reading it alone, and also with others to see other perspectives
– if you have children, trying reading it with them, and asking what they see in the story
As you read, here are some guideposts:
In these chapters we see:
- The Servant ch 13 (washing the disciples’ feet)
- The Consoler ch 14 (comforting His disciples despite what He must soon face)
- The True Vine ch 15 (the source of spiritual fruit, of joy and love in our lives)
- The Giver of the Holy Spirit ch 16 (the counsellor who will lead us into truth)
- The Great Intercessor ch 17 (His heartfelt prayer for those who follow Him)
An outline of the passages:
13:1–20 Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13:21–30 Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
13:31–35 Jesus Introduces Major Themes of His Farewell Discourse
14:5–7 Jesus Declares Himself to Be the Way to the Father
14:8–21 Jesus Speaks of Both His and His Disciples’ Relation to the Father
14:22–31 Jesus Contrasts His Disciples’ Relation to God with that of the World
15:1–17 Jesus Calls the Disciples to Remain in Him, the True Vine
16:16–33 Jesus Predicts Joy and Suffering
17:1–26 Jesus lifts up His Disciples by Praying to His Father
Some themes to look for:
The overarching theme of these passages is Love. Ch13 starts with this, and ch17 concludes in the same way. In between, love is mentioned more here than in the rest of John’s gospel. We see Jesus’ love for us, the call to love Him through obedience, and the Commandment to love each other.
These are formative experiences for following Christ together:
– theme of servant hood
– theme of real love
– theme of obedience/following
– theme of empowering and infilling
– theme of suffering and joy
– theme of glory
Finally, some topics to journal about as you read through these chapters: