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#201 The Strength of Identity

On Thursday Jesus sends two disciples to prepare for Passover in Jerusalem. By the time everyone else celebrates Passover he will be dead, God’s true sacrificial lamb. He wants to spend these last quiet hours before the drama begins with the twelve. He wants to prepare them.

But sitting with them, his words of warning and comfort stop on his lips. He sees they cannot hear him in their present state of mind.

But at least they are enough in tune to notice his heaviness and sorrow and feel compassion.

However, the mood abruptly changes–as soon as they notice that there is no servant to use the pitcher, basin and towel provided for their comfort.

Jesus watches for awhile as their discomfort grows. It’s obvious that vying for position is still active. Not one of them will be caught dead doing the servant’s job. They’re all in self-promotion mode. All of Jesus’ teaching about service giving the highest position; all the modeling of his life: “I’ve come to serve, not to be served,” seems lost on them. Somehow he must get through to them. Their struggle after his death is his top concern.

“I wanted to celebrate this Passover with you before I suffer…” he begins, and then rises, lays aside his cloak, takes the towel, wraps it around him tucking the top, and pours water into the basin.

They watch, scandalized. What is he doing…? How could he…?

Jesus knows who he is.

Identity gives anything dignity.

John 13:1-4, Luke 22:7-16

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