The Bible and Culture

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CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT: ANOTHER MEAL IN BETHANY, ANOTHER LESSON

It was still several days before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and Jesus reclined on a couch with his most beloved disciple, and in due course he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Simon, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “O.K. Simon, but unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Master,” Simon replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For Jesus knew already who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Amen, amen I say to you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

After the meal Jesus began to teach them at some length. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Judeans, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Simon asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in G-d; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip added, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has already seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. Amen, amen I say to you, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Then Judas said, “But, Master, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world? Why won’t you assume the full public mantle of King?”

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; it is time for us to get some rest”.

It was on this night that Judas came to the conclusion that Jesus would not be leading the revolt causing the overthrow of the overlords. Jesus’ action in the Temple had signaled coming judgment by G-d, but had not initiated it. After great hopes at the beginning of the week, by Tuesday Judas had become thoroughly disillusioned with Jesus, and was still stung by Jesus’ critique of him when he had taken exception to Miryam’s extravagant gesture in Eliezer’s house. If Jesus was not the messiah like David who would cleanse the land and rule it with an iron hand, then he must be a great deceiver. So it was that Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver denarii. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over.

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