John 13: As I Have Done to You

KATHERINE ASHBAUGH | GUEST The Feast of the Passover has arrived, and Jesus knows his hour has finally come. Having loved his own in the world, he will love them to the end. We enter the scene of John 13, where Jesus and his disciples are enjoying a last meal together. Celebration abounds, friendship and feasting too. Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, is present, as are the rest of Jesus’ faithful disciples— the men he has allowed to walk and watch his ways. Men, who have been fed by the Bread of Life, with fish and loaves and with words powerful to save, strengthen, and encourage. Men, who have witnessed and performed miracles in his name, bodies healed, and sins forgiven. Men, who have confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-9). And Jesus is present at the meal. The Lamb of God. As the action begins, we learn that Jesus knows his Father had given him all things, and so with purpose he rises and moves towards each disciple, tenderly washing their feet. One after another, first the washing and then the drying, with a towel wrapped around his waist. The process is physical, messy and wet, refreshing and warm, and utterly confusing, as Peter makes clear when his turn arrives. “Lord, do you wash my feet?” (John 13:6). “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me,” Jesus replies (John 13:8), so in characteristic form, Peter enthusiastically requests a full washing, his hands and head as well.

John 13: As I Have Done to You2022-05-04T00:45:25+00:00

Last Words to Live By in 2022

KAREN HODGE|CONTRIBUTOR Goodbyes can be excruciating. Over the years, I have said goodbye to my children at nursery doors, elementary bus stops, college parking lots, and airport departure lanes. Will it ever get easier? My recent parting on an airport sidewalk leans towards no. Goodbyes bring clarity and focus to our thoughts, actions, and words. We want the last thing that rings in a loved one's ear to be comforting. Goodbyes require us to keep short accounts. Farewell words should be filled with repentance and grace. I have also stood on sacred ground where last words and songs fill the air as a saint is ushered into glory. Last words draw us in and will profoundly shape us until we get Home. The disciples were privileged to sit and have one final meal with Jesus in the upper room. In less than 24 hours, their friend will willingly lay down His life for them on the cross. This poignant reality leaves them understandably frightened, overwhelmed, and insecure about the future. John 13-17 contains Jesus' farewell discourse. These last words give us His disciples' purpose and mission, and our own as well. As 2022 dawns, perhaps you can relate to the disciples’ troubled hearts. The pandemic has disorientated us. Relationships are dismantled through distance and disagreements. Jesus, our tender Father, has gone to prepare a place or Home for us. We must fixate on this trajectory as we walk each other Home. These words should not be addendums but central in our thoughts and actions. He already knows we will easily get distracted and discouraged, which is why He has not left us alone. We need a comforter, counselor, and Helper for each step of the journey.  Over the next several months, we will consider these last words at our annual Leadership Training and on the enCourage podcast and blog. You can download our free devotional, Abide in Me: 31 Days with Jesus in the Upper Room, to study with other fellow pilgrims. As you set off on this journey, you may want to pour yourself a hot beverage, grab your Bible, notebook, and a pen to consider these words and heart-penetrating questions as you prayerfully seek the Lord's face as you step into a new year...

Last Words to Live By in 20222022-08-04T01:20:59+00:00
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