Friends and family move away. Children get launched off to college or given in marriage. In preparation for their departure, you meet together for one last dinner—one more party. Loved ones leave this earth. With hours remaining, you gather around their bedside to say farewell. Nothing matters more than enjoying each other's company one more time. You hang out, hug, eat, sing, but especially you speak those final words buried in the depth of your heart. Every minute counts—every word carries weight. Nothing gets left out before the leaving and separation.
This was the Last Supper.
John 13 &14 gives one account of the final get together Jesus had with His disciples—His closest friends. Verse 1 says Jesus was “fully aware that the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father”. And like every last get together, Jesus had an agenda.
Verse 1 continues with this—“having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” He loved them to the end. “End” here is the Greek word “telos” meaning fully, completely, the uttermost, to the highest degree—all the way through to the finish line.
In spite of the betrayal and rejection He knew what was coming, and tolerating their ignorance and arrogance, Jesus still enjoyed supper with them, delighting in their closeness. Knowing they would all desert Him, Jesus continued to demonstrate His love and humility by washing their stinky, filthy feet—setting an example—instructing them to serve each other in the same way. Unveiling an entirely New Covenant through the Passover meal, Jesus revealed Communion and a New Commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Jesus delivered every vital, life giving Word the Father implanted in Him, omitting nothing, speaking from the depth of His love because He knew they, and all those to follow, would need every single word. (Selah)
How did Jesus do that? How could He love them completely, to the highest degree in spite of their disloyalty and disobedience? Verse 3 gives us insight into the fuel that enabled Jesus to love despite all He knew He was about to endure. “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God...” Jesus knew Who He was. He knew His authority. And He knew the end result. He was going back to His Father with the win.
Loving His friends to the end, Jesus then empowers them with a promise. He will go ahead to prepare a place for them, but would return to receive them to Himself to be with Him forever. And then He says this....
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (a Comforter, One besides Me, but just like Me) that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
-John 14:16-18 NASB
Jesus knew fear would grip His friends. He knew loneliness would engulf them and helplessness overwhelm. In His utmost love, He gave them a hope—the promise of His Spirit.
A loose translation might be,
“I'm going away, but I promise I'll be back for you to take you to where I am. While I'm away, I'll send My Spirit to live in you. The Spirit of Truth will act in place of Me, doing what I would do if I were there with you. My Spirit will empower, enable, and equip you. He will be with you always to teach you, and remind you of everything I told you. You will never be alone and never without help.”
This finish line is love.
As we approach the celebration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Savior and Lord, why not read the account of those final hours Jesus spent with His friends. Take time to think about His instructions and promises, and the extent to which He loved His disciples, knowing that He loves you fully, completely and to the highest degree as well. You are not an orphan. You are a child of God. Wait in His Presence and receive a fresh filling of His Spirit.
- Janice Buckson