Some of the words Jesus spoke to His disciples on the night of The Last Supper, recorded by John, seem paradoxical. Jesus tells His disciples to remain in Him, then tells them that they will soon abandon Him. He tells them not to be anxious, even as He tells them that He is leaving and that they will suffer.
He says, “I no longer call you servants…Instead, I have called you friends,” (15:15) after washing their feet and instructing them to do the same for each other.
What did all of this mean?
That night was a turning point for Jesus. His teaching time on earth was over. He took the next step, dying for the sins of the world (on what we now call Good Friday). That night was a turning point quickly followed by another, His glorious Resurrection.
Jesus’ words that night suggest that even as He was about to take this last step, it was as good as accomplished, something long foretold and destined to happen because it was God’s plan – His promise – from the very beginning:
“…take heart! I have overcome the world”, (16:33) He said that night, and,
“…the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (16:11)
That night was a turning point for the disciples too.
“A new command I give you: Love one another,” Jesus said to them. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (13:34-35)
The disciples now needed to take the next step, to work out what all of these words meant for them even as they went out into all the world proclaiming them.
Jesus reminded His disciples…
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last…” (15:16)
Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke things into being. They were revealed in word before they came to be. He promised Abraham a son and a nation…and a Savior! (Genesis 12:1-3) It was all about faith in God’s promises and in His creative, saving power.
It’s all about faith for us too, as we go forward after Easter. We have followed Jesus closely this Lent, and now He invites us to take the next step.
What will that be?