Jesus' sacrifice did not start at the cross. Come, take another look at Jesus' meaningful moments at the Last Supper. It was a time full of pain and love. Be changed as you look again upon your Saviour.
John 13:1 - It was just 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.
This was the event that Jesus had been pointing toward for a long time - his impending suffering and death. Jesus often talked to his disciples about the end that was coming. Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 9:30-32; Matthew 20:17-19; Matthew 26:1-2 The disciples, still oblivious to the great weight on Jesus, enjoyed a good Passover supper together.
How would you be feeling at the supper table if you knew what Jesus knew? The thought of his coming suffering and tortuous death would have been almost unbearable. Even more, the knowledge of bearing the sins of the world would have been crushing on his spirit. Yet, how did Jesus relate to those around him at this last supper?
John 13:2-5 - The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so 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.
Even before his greatest sacrifice of all, Jesus served his disciples. With incredible sorrow pressing upon his soul, he knelt down at the feet of those who would betray him. Yes, Jesus washed the feet of Judas, the betrayer. But, he also washed the feet of all the disciples who ran for their lives when the pressure was on. They all disassociated themselves with Jesus when their own lives were threatened. Mark 14:50-52
How could Jesus serve others in his own hour of need? The key lies in John 13:3. Jesus first knew that no one was controlling him into submission. No man could take his life. Rather, Jesus gave his life. The Father had put all things under his power. With this knowledge, Jesus had a calm confidence even in the midst of the pain.
John 13:3 also tells us that Jesus knew where he came from (his Father) and knew where he was going (back to his Father). This was the courage and hope he needed to pour himself out in service in the midst of his terrible anguish. Jesus knew that he was a loved Son of his Father. And he knew he would see his Father again soon. With this hope he pressed on to wash the dirt from the feet of his disciples.
We stop serving when we forget who we are (loved children of the Father) and forget where we are headed (an eternity with our loving Father). Do you have limits to your service? Do you reach a point of demanding others to serve you?
Jesus did not stop there with his display of love in the midst of personal suffering. At this last supper, Jesus revealed to his disciples that someone would betray him.
John 13:21 - After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.
Jesus was sharing the burden of his soul with his disciples. He allowed them to enter into his pain. But, it didn't stop there. One of Jesus' close friends, named John, was sitting right next to Jesus. He leaned back against Jesus and asked him who the betrayer was. John 13:25 John asked Jesus to tell him a secret… the secret of the betrayer.
And what did Jesus do? He actually told John his secret. John 13:26 In his great hour of need, Jesus revealed his intimate love for John in whispering his secret. Jesus allowed John to see the burden on his heart. Think about this - the Creator of the universe vulnerably opened up to a friend about his pain, the pain of the coming betrayal. Look at how Jesus drew his friends into intimate fellowship even when his own soul was heavy with grief.
When you feel like you have nothing left to give, remember Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In the midst of your own suffering, you can serve. Remember whose you are. You belong to your Father. You are not being taken advantage of. You can choose to serve. In the midst of your own burdens, you can draw others close in love. When you feel like separating yourself from the world, reach out with your vulnerability. Allow others into your pain. If Jesus needed his friends, so do you.
On this day when you remember the suffering of your Savior, courageously follow in his steps. Keep sacrificing and loving. This is not the end. Your Father is waiting with open arms to receive you.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.