November 1, 2020, John 13:1-15, 34-35 ISSL Reflections Post 1

I.
We move to the “Upper Room” and the evening and night of the “Last Supper.” Unlike the synoptic gospels’ account of that night, this Gospel does not include the account of the bread and wine but rather Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

As you read (and reread) this passage pay attention to Jesus’ words and actions. How do his words to the disciples (and by extension to us) help us understand his actions and conversely how do his actions give body and weight to his words.

II.
John 13:1-15 (NRSV)

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

John 13:34-35 (NRSV)

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

III.
What do make of what Jesus did and said here?

Was he about teaching theology? Or showing hospitality? Or instituting a ceremonial ritual we are to reenact in our meetings today?

How does it fit together?

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end…. during supper Jesus … got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself…. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him…. After he had washed their feet … and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? … You call me Teacher and Lord … you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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