10 Days with Jesus – Day 7
Jesus had less than 12 hours till his Crucifixion. He had spent 33 years headed straight into the mission of Good Friday and it was almost time. But not quite yet. Right now . . . on this Thursday evening . . . it was time for Supper. Centuries later we refer to that meal as The Last Supper.
Jesus spent his final few hours before the cross sharing an intimate meal with his closest friends. Oh to be a guest at that table! To hear the stories, the jeers, the inside jokes, and the parting words of the Master to his followers – his friends. In fact, it was at that very meal that Jesus said these words . . . “I no longer call you servants – now you are my friends.”
10 Days with Jesus is an online journey that will immerse you into the final days of Jesus the Messiah. One thing is for sure, if you spend 10 Days with Jesus – you’ll never be the same again!
Jesus is my FRIEND.
A Seat at the Table.
For just a few minutes, let’s pretend that we are at the table with Jesus and the 12. Let’s mind our manners, keep our elbows off the table, and listen closely to the conversation between Jesus and the guys. (John 13-17)
This was a special evening. This was the first night of Passover and the 7-day holiday always started with a big meal. The meal was a reminder of that first passover night centuries ago in the land of Egypt. This meal (the one we snuck into) was just the beginning of an entire week of celebration. Passover was the annual holiday that celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery. This was their July 4th but they had a big meal instead of fireworks. I’d take the bread and wine all day long! You can keep your silly fireworks.
Everyone at the table had celebrated this meal their entire life, but tonight was going to be different. Tonight they shared the table with THE PASSOVER LAMB. Tonight was their last night with Jesus, but they still didn’t get it. This would be the meal that the truth about Jesus started to sink in for the first time. This would be the meal that Jesus would clearly tell them the plan of salvation . . .
This was the meal that Jesus said these words . . . (John 15:13)
“There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.”
(Come on Jesus – enough of the negative talk. It’s holiday eve
and it’s time to celebrate not ponder the deep meaning of life.)
Jesus knew this was the last meal he would share with his friends and he wanted to FRIEND them. He wanted to speak truth, joy, and peace into their life while he still could. Jesus wanted to model for them what true friendship looked like.
Show Me the Love.
Friend. That’s a loaded word. I’ve got 1,227 friends on Facebook and a whopping 65 “followers” on Twitter. I’ve got friends . . . yes I do . . . I’ve got friends . . . how about you? Friends is such an empty word these days. If we’re going with the Jesus definition of friends then I’m only looking at a handful of people I would even think about “laying my life down for!”
This passage has always seemed like Jesus pulled out the trump card on his disciples by saying that a true friend would be willing to die for his friends. I mean really, I’ve had a lot of good friends over the years but none of us have given our life for each other. In fact, most of the time, it’s difficult to even schedule a night that we’re all free for dinner.
But like most things Jesus said, this loaded statement had a much deeper meaning . . . a meaning that was doable and practical. A meaning that would change the way we view friendships.
You see, the greek word for lay down your life is
“tithemi” which means “to bow down, to serve.” (a verb)
And the greek word for friend is
“philos” which means “to be friendly.” (a verb)
Wow J. – that was so helpful?! Hang with me . . . That actually does change things a bit. If friend is a verb then it’s something we do, not something we are. If friend is a verb then we had best learn how to start friending each other!
With our newfound understanding the verse could easily read like this . . .
“There is no greater love than to spend your life serving your friends.”
OK. Now we’re making some progress. Friends Love. Friends Serve. Friends verb each other. But how? How do we act on a Thursday that mirrors this type of friendship? How do we friend each other in the everyday stuff of life? Here’s the good news . . .
The Table shows us 4 ways to Serve.
# 1 – Serve with your Presence.
Let’s start with the obvious. You can’t serve your friends unless you’re near your friends – being present is part of the deal. It feels strange even typing those words. Isn’t it common sense that we need to be present? It is common sense but sadly it’s not very common. In our culture of business and saying yes to a bazillion things, we have good intentions but less-than-desirable actions.
Jesus said to his disciples . . . “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.” ~ Luke 22:15
Jesus said to his disciples . . . “I will be with you a little longer, but don’t let your hearts be troubled. I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be where I am.” ~ John 13-14
# 2 – Serve with your Words.
The Jewish Proverb 18:21 says . . . “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.” Chances are you didn’t need me to remind you of that. Your mind is full of words that you wish had never been said to you or spoken over you . . . but the opposite is also true.
Back to our supper . . . Jesus knew the importance of his words that evening. He knew that hours from now his closest friends would be afraid, confused, and discouraged. So in that moment – that final night together – Jesus used his words to bring Truth, Joy, and Peace to his closest friends.
Jesus said to his disciples . . . “I am in the Father and the Father is in me. The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me . . . I tell you the TRUTH.”
Jesus said to his disciples . . . “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Jesus said to his disciples . . . “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
His words were truthful.
His words were joyful.
His words were peaceful.
# 3 – Serve with your Actions.
Words are good but they’re not enough. The old adage is true – actions speak louder than words. Actually, they reinforce words. They bring those words to life by showing their meaning. It’s so easy in the wordiness of life to throw our words around with no real action to back them up.
So Jesus got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. Then he said to them . . . “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet – you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
(Thank you very much – but I don’t need anyone to wash my feet.) You probably don’t either and if you do that’s a whole other issue! The moral of the story isn’t about feet, it’s about friendship. Remember – Friendship is love in ACTION.
Jesus wanted to SHOW his disciples how to friend each other not just TELL them how. The creator of the entire universe was kneeling at their feet and serving them. The disciples were the servants – HE WAS THE MASTER!
But in his Kingdom, Jesus said . . . “Among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” ~ Luke 22:26
# 4 – Serve with your Prayers.
This is the hardest of all. Serving your friends in prayer is joining them in spiritual battle. Prayer is standing shoulder-to-shoulder and proclaiming the truth straight into the face of the evil one. It’s no joke. It’s not easy. Or fun. But it matters. Prayer matters.
Late into that Passover night, Jesus modeled the importance and practice of prayer. The truth that we’re about to learn is a game-changer. Practicing the rhythm of Prayer leads us to discover 2 Types of Prayer.
Praying WITH – is about joining forces with Christian friends for spiritual support, encouragement, and accountability. We practice this type of prayer with our church, our small group, our co-workers, our family. WITH includes others.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” ~ Mark 14:33-34
Praying FOR – is about getting alone with God himself and asking for his power, protection, and favor to fall on those we love the most. It’s the unselfish prayer that focuses on the needs and struggles of those around us. FOR is you and God.
Jesus prayed to the Father . . . “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one . . . I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” ~ John 17:15-20
What about You?
- How are you doing at Friending?
- Are you serving others well?
- Which area needs some attention . . .
Presence – Words – Actions – Prayer?