Here we are in the middle of Holy Week. We just celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday. Maundy Thursday, the date of the last supper, is only two days away. Then Good Friday and the crucifixion. Then the darkness of the Saturday in which Jesus lay in the tomb and descended into Hell to defeat the evil one. And finally Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord!
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. We are still in the middle of Holy Week. Easter is a long way off. Jesus was quite busy during this week preparing His disciples for what was to come. During this week I like to read from John 12, where we hear of the triumphal entry, through John 17. It is in John 18 that Jesus is arrested and taken away to be tried, then beaten, flogged, spit upon, ridiculed, and crucified.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself again. We are still in the middle of Holy Week. I want to focus on what Jesus said and did to prepare His disciples for what He knew was to come. John records five full chapters of that preparation. I urge you to find a quiet spot some time before Thursday and read these chapters. If we are to be His disciples, we are in need of that preparation, too. For now, I want to share some of my favorite highlights:
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 Peter, who said to him, “Lord, 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 Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
John 14:1, 5-7
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
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.”
John 14:15-18, 25-27
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor 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.”
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, 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.
John 15:1-2, 5
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Jesus said a lot to prepare His disciples. Are you prepared?