In today’s read, we get to sit in with Jesus’ disciples in the upper room, as they share their last meal together before He is arrested. It’s interesting to read passages chronologically from all four gospels as it gives a better sense of the events of that night. Did you know that Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed not once but twice? Once while they sat at the table talking and again when they left the room and made their way towards the Mount of Olives into the Garden of Gethsemane? I never caught that before today.
Up to this point, Jesus has been with His disciples. They have spent 3 years together and the disciples have grown used to having Jesus there with them, to answer their questions, to decide where they would go, who to speak to, who to heal. Now Jesus knows they are going to have to move from seeing Him face to face to a different kind of discipleship. He is preparing them for the only life that you and I have ever known as believers – walking by faith.
Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t leave us in the dark about what that faith walk looks like, nor does He leave us on our own to walk it out. Here are a few observations.
1. A disciple of Jesus will partake of the new covenant found only in the sacrifice of His body and blood. I’m not talking about just “taking communion,” but trusting in His sacrificial death for salvation. Jesus plainly illustrated this with the shared wine and bread.
2. A disciple of Jesus will have a humble, servant’s heart. Jesus illustrated this by washing His disciples’ feet, telling them to “do as I have done for you.”
3. A disciple of Jesus will love other disciples. Jesus gave us a new command: “As I have loved you, love one another” because that’s how the world will know we are His disciples.
4. A disciple of Jesus will look forward to heaven and His return. Jesus promised He was going away to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house. True believers long for home.
5. A disciple of Jesus recognizes that He is the One sent from God and that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
6. A disciple of Jesus shows that He loves Jesus by obeying His teaching and keeping His commands. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” What are His commands? Every word in the Word of God.
7. A disciple of Jesus has the living Spirit of God dwelling within Him. Jesus said He would not leave His disciples as orphans, but that God’s Spirit would live in us. And that Spirit brings peace, unlike anything the world can ever offer.
Jesus has more to tell us in tomorrow’s passages. For today, if you’re a disciple of Jesus, be thankful that He did not leave us to walk alone in the dark, to figure out this faith-life by ourselves. He spent His last hours giving us words of hope and wisdom, anticipating everything we would need to know. Take His words to heart.