Our reading for today begins with Jesus and the disciples gathered in Jerusalem for their final meal. We have visited this scene in Matthew, Mark, and Luke already, but what John chooses to tell us about the event is markedly different. For one thing, it is in this section that he records Jesus’ lengthiest oration found anywhere in Scripture. In chapters 14-17, we hear Jesus encouraging, instructing, comforting, and challenging the disciples, then we hear him praying on their behalf. Just prior to the final words he offers them, it is his action that speaks volumes.
The synoptic gospels report Jesus’ instructions from the Upper Room for how the disciples are to remember him–through the sharing of the bread and the cup. John reports how the disciples are to follow him. In a world where everyone scrambles for power and position, they are instructed to live differently. His humble act of footwashing is more than enough to convey the message. Serving one another is the way in which disciples will distinguish themselves from the power-hungry. Going back to yesterday’s blog, the desire to serve is a tangible sign of the life that is satisfied to be aligned with Jesus Christ. There is no need to chase after anything else, setting disciples free to serve joyfully without regard for what other people might think.