Journey to the Cross
Holy Week gives us pause.
We reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made,
the devotion of his followers,
and the grief they suffer in his death.
How will you walk through Holy Week? Where do you find yourself in the cast of characters surrounding Jesus during this Lenten season?
Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.
Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.”
“No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.”
Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!”
Simon Peter seems an odd choice for Jesus to declare the foundation of the church. He has a bad habit of speaking without thinking, and is probably familiar with a posture where one’s foot is firmly planted in one’s mouth. In his effort to please Jesus, Simon Peter says plainly that Jesus will never wash his feet. He was probably uncomfortable with the idea of Jesus taking on the role of a servant. Yet this is exactly the posture Jesus intended to demonstrate for the disciples.
After being corrected by Jesus, Simon Peter demonstrates his full devotion to Jesus, asking Jesus to not only wash his feet but his hands and head as well. Maybe Simon Peter wasn’t such an odd choice after all. When it came to following Jesus, he was fully devoted. Of course, fear trips him up later in the week, but he does eventually become the rock of the church Jesus knew he would be.
Jesus used an impulsive, mistake-prone disciple to become the foundation of the church. He can use you too.
Jesus, you, the servant, showed the way. You ask me to follow you. Embolden me with the character of Simon Peter to follow you impulsively and boldly in this world that’s calling for your compassion and love. Amen.
The Kingdom is here, but not yet in its fullness.
Jesus taught his followers to be about Kingdom-building through service and love. He never promised them it would be easy.
Go and do likewise.