Will You Follow?
John 13: 1-17
Let us walk with Jesus and His disciples along the streets of Jerusalem.
It is Passover week and Jerusalem is filled with people -- tourist, pilgrims, celebrants, local citizens -- all gathered
in Jerusalem for the great religious feast of the year.
Passover was the time when all faithful Jews celebrated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
It commemorated the sparing of Jewish lives even as the angel of death was taking the lives of the firstborn sons of Egypt.
More than any other feast, Passover set the Jews apart as a people.
The deeds of the past are on the minds of the people as they move about Jerusalem, but these are not the thoughts
of the disciples of Jesus.
Their minds are on the future.
The kingdom of God is near.
Jesus has told them this.
How can one think of feasts when something as important as this is about to take place?
They are thinking about the kingdom, and of their place in it.
They are probably thinking: "I wonder where I'll fit into Jesus' plan.
I'm sure that He has recognized my leadership ability and my outstanding qualities.
I believe that I would make a great general. I know that I'm as good as any of these others."
And as these self-serving, egotistical thoughts run through the mind of each member of the disciples,
it suddenly dawns on him that the others are probably thinking the same thing.
He's probably thinking that he'd better keep an eye on them for they'll be trying to get on Jesus' good side.
He's determined not to let them get ahead of him.
So, as Jesus walks ahead, they began to push and shove to get closer to Him.
Their patience with each other is getting thin.
They are tired.
As they move down the road their shuffling feet raised a cloud of dust that covers them to the knees
and causes them to choke.
Jesus knows His disciples.
He sees what is happening.
The small group of devoted disciples is disintegrating into a pack of self-serving, spiteful children.
Can they not see what they are doing to each other and to Him?
They are destroying everything that He has been teaching them for three years.
In the mind of Jesus, the situation is critical because He knows how little time He has left to be with them.
There are so many things that He hasn't been able to tell them yet, and time is running out.
They make their way to a small inn where Jesus has made plans for their supper.
This is not just a Passover meal, but it is to be a going-away party given by Jesus.
Jesus should have been the guest of honor.
He should have received a parting gift from from the men whom He loved.
However, no one is in a mood for a party.
Their bickering and jockeying for position has spoiled the mood and ruined the occasion.
This is not the time for any of Jesus' final teachings.
None of them will hear what He has to say.
They are too busy thinking about their own plans for the future.
It is a sullen, quiet group that climbs the stairs to that little room on the second floor where the simple meal has been laid out.
Without saying a single word they all decide to depart from their usual routine.
Always before when they had come in from a long walk, one of the disciples would pick up the basin of water
and the towel and would kneel in front of the others and wash the grimy dirt road off the feet of his companions.
Usually, the first to enter the room would be the one to do this.
They had no slaves to do it for them.
They voluntarily did it for one another.
But not this time.
Their attitudes were evident.