Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 13, 2017

His care

As the sun sets on our Thursday, the orthodox or ancient Jew welcomes their Friday.  It is this truth which places Jesus’ final Passover meal in the center of our focus today.  i have written extensively in past years about the astonishing significance of this particular Passover Seder, but today our eyes are fixed squarely on Jesus.  In answer to my prayer before writing today, i am overcome with the care Jesus lavishes on His disciples today.  From His intention and thought in preparation, to His posture and profuseness in serving, Jesus pours every ounce of Himself into those He gathers close in His final hours.  All of this before giving Himself over to those who will shout “Crucify!”

The disciples ask Jesus where He would like to celebrate the Passover Seder.  He chooses two disciples to travel to Jerusalem and gives them these instructions:

“As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.”
Mark 14:13-15 (NLT)

There is nothing cursory or arbitrary about His instructions, or the plans the Savior had already taken care to complete.  The large room that was already setup?  Man, it must be AWESOME to have divine power!  And this was just the prep.

As all the disciples gather to enjoy this last meal with Jesus, John’s gospel says this…

Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. [a]
John 13:1a (NLT)

The footnote ([a]) to that final phrase reads:

and now he showed them the full extent of his love.

What Jesus does next is get up from the table, take off His robe, wrap a towel around his waist, pour water into a basin and bend low to wash the feet of His disciples … to show them the full extent of His love.  This pattern of Jesus (born in a stable, first act in His earthly ministry is to retreat to the desert to be tempted by Satan himself, rode into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey) is repeated in the posture He takes to show His disciples the full extent of His love.  It is the same posture He will take later by praying with such intensity that He begins to sweat blood.  The same posture in being whipped by the Roman guards.  The same posture in carrying His cross.  The same posture in showing you and me the full extent of His love.

His care repeats in the way He deals with Judas (“Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. – John 13:27b-28 NLT).  It repeats in His response to the repeated failures of His inner circle to keep watch as He prayed in the Garden.  It repeats in His willing surrender to the guards who come to capture Him, and His merciful healing of the young guard’s ear severed by Peter’s sword.

This singular man (God-man) at the center of a redemptive whirlwind, soon to carry the full weight of every sin for all time and friend of sinners cares deeply, intentionally and lavishly.  With all that was closing in on Him, He never took His eyes off them.  Oh, how He loves.  Oh, how loved them.  Oh, how He loves you and me.


Responses

  1. Enjoyed the read in Mark today. The contrast between Peter and Jesus’s response to distressing times I found powerful.

    Peter, when told he will deny, immediately (in his own strength it appears) – “insists”, “emphatically”, “never”, “I will die with you!” – makes willful closed-ended proclamations.

    While Christ, when facing the height of His passion-bearing load – evidenced by the terms “deeply”, “distressed”, “troubled”, overwhelmed with sorrow”, “to the point of death”, “fell to the ground”, “if possible!” – turns to the Father with open-ended question, conversation, request and submission. “If possible”, “Everything is possible with You”, “Take this cup from me.” “YET, not what I will, but what You will.” !!

    Peter, the weak, turns to self and self’s desires and abilities. Christ, the strong, turns to His Father and His Father’s desires and abilities.

    Father, I (we) can do both. We do do both! Jesus, might we learn more from You as You gently and humbly bring rest to our souls when we are weary, burdened and distressed. All these things have been committed to You by our Father who has stated His good pleasure in revealing these things to us. 😊 Matthew 11:25-30


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