By Verse : 3 John 13 Topic :

Mar 4.18 Lent

“It was just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” (John 13:1)
That’s the words that John wrote in the beginning of chapter 13 in his gospel. This, if you remember, is that Upper Room experience, the time of the Last Supper, the time when Judas left the group to go and betray Jesus. This was the time when Jesus took off his robe, got a basin of water and began to wash the disciple’s feet. He did it to show his love, and as an example of what love looks like through doing things for others.
When you read John’s long account of the Upper Room experience you see how he is preparing the disciples for not only his journey to the cross, but their own journey of faith once Jesus has died. This whole Upper Room experience ends at the end of chapter 17. Chapter 18 begins with what was about to happen on that night and the next few days: “When He finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and the disciples went into it.”
When you read your Bible there sometimes are headings that help you understand what is about to happen, and they let you know what that particular section is all about. When you read that Upper Room discourse there is so much that Jesus had to say to his disciples and us as well.
I think if you were to make a movie, or just look for a way to understand the whole Lord’s Supper theme this is the gospel you would turn to. I think it tells the whole account of what happened and why. It begins with the washing of the disciples feet, discussion on betrayal, and denial by Peter, and it ends a few chapters later by Jesus praying for himself to be ready for what was to come, and praying for his disciples who would be facing the world without him and of course his prayer for those who would not have the experience that the disciples had, but who would hear their stories of faith in Christ, and their walk with Jesus, in order that they might be touched by the stories, and believe, and trust like they did.
This whole section brings us to that Upper Room. The disciples secretly came through the back alleys of the town, so no one would see them, to the place Jesus had prepared for them to celebrate the Passover Meal. All is ready.
Scrolling through this section I found one of those places where there was a title that said, “The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy.” After all that Jesus said about denial, betrayal, even the disciples questioning who would be the one to betray him, plus his suffering and death, something good was about to come out of it. Before that happened, they had to endure the pain of what was to be.
We often say hope comes in the morning maybe after a good night’s rest and much prayer and trust.
Isn’t that what we hope to experience every time we enter these doors of our faith, and as we share in the Lord’s Supper? We look for the hope that is in the message, because we need to know that God loves us always and will take care of us.
Isn’t that what Jesus wants this Lenten season? It’s not just to remember what happened to Jesus that week, it’s why he did it. It is to help us to remember those words in John 14 that states, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you to be with me that you may be where I am… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Those are fantastic words of hope for us today. Let me repeat those words Jesus said to Thomas because sometimes we might struggle with these things. He said, “I Am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
When we think of all this world seems to offer today, we realize this isn’t where we would like to spend eternity. This world is full of anger, mistrust, thievery, unwelcomeness, murderers, selfish people, unlovable people who do their best to destroy this world. They bring fear. They offer no hope. It’s enjoy what you have today because there is no tomorrow. This world is full of hate, and since the beginning of time, it has been going downhill. We who are Christian through believing in Christ, enter our born-again life, live as long as God wants us, and when death comes, we transit to eternal life where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. That’s our hope through being a follower of Jesus. We bank on Jesus’ promise found here in John 14, that he went to prepare a place for all who believe so that we will never be separated from him again. So, he reminds us, like he did the disciples, not to be afraid. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Always trust in God, AND ALWAYS TRUST IN JESUS.
The choir, in a few moments, will sing “Love filled the cup: Love broke the bread, poured out and broken for you.”
We are reminded through this one act what Jesus offers to those who follow him. He reminds his followers to do this often in order to remember how much he loves us. We are invited to come. We come, as an invitational hymn says, to come as we are, to the altar of grace and forgiveness, to the place we meet God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit face to face through the elements of the Lord’s Supper. We are invited to receive the grace of God.
Do you remember the story of the Emmaus folks who were so full of sorrow because they were there when Jesus died? While they were returning home, someone came up behind them and asked why they were sorrowful. “Weren’t you there when they crucified our Lord?” they asked. Weren’t you there when they nailed him to the cross?” one of them blurted out. “Weren’t you there when they laid him in the tomb?” they cried in sorrow. “Sometimes,” they tearfully said, “it just causes you to tremble. Were you there? We were.” They were having a tough, tough day. They lost a dear friend. They lost someone who touched many lives, who brought hope of a better tomorrow with his messages. They were blinded by their grief. But then, the risen Jesus spoke. He began way back in history of their people to tell the story of why this all had to happen. He told them it was because of the broken relationship between man and God. Many had stopped believing in God. Lots had stopped following God’s ways. Lots of the people were lost. They were like sheep without a Shepherd. But God still loved them… and was watching over them. And through those stories Jesus emphasized God’s great love for his people, that he hadn’t given up on them, and that he had sent those who brought his wonderful message to the world.
Jesus talked about that love, that forgiveness, that undeserved grace all the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, perhaps nonstop, perhaps answering questions that stirred their hearts. And these two men who were filled with no hope began to have their hearts strangely warmed with each story, with each word Jesus said.
It would have taken a long time to get to their home. That is perhaps why they asked Jesus to stay with them that night. But I think they asked him to stay because he had touched their lives and they wanted to learn more. They were like sponges soaking every word that this man said. In their darkened life came the sunlight that offered them a future so great it was astounding.
As we get to the end of the journey, these men, who still didn’t know who it was they were with, who they invited to stay with them for the night, who they were about to share in a meal, the man who calmed their fears, who gave them hope, were now relaxed and had a better understanding of how much God loved them. When Jesus began to give the blessing for their meal, when he took the bread and broke it and gave it to them, something miraculous happened. Their eyes were opened. For once they had been blinded by the grief they bore from the death of the Master. But when they took that bread, perhaps his hands touched their hands, and maybe something, somehow passed between them, and their eyes were opened to the truth that death and the tomb did not hold Jesus. He was alive. And in that moment, for some unknown reason, Jesus was gone from their presence.
It all happened when they took the bread. It all happens when God’s people receive the bread and cup at communion time. If you believe it can happen, something amazing happens every time you partake in the Lord’s Supper. Something transforming happens when you swallow the bread, and drink the cup offered in love. Magical? Maybe. Transforming? I believe so. Could we say when we receive the Lord’s Supper it’s a cleansing within?
Maybe that is what Jesus wants the world to remember when we share in the breaking of bread. Maybe he wants us to think about this time in the Upper Room when he told his disciples that they should not fear, for one day they would celebrate this great meal around the table in heaven. Maybe he wanted them to trust, not what was, but what was to be. To trust in the great promises of God that who ever believes in God’s Son will have eternal life.
Jesus is sitting with his disciples to let them know of a journey he was about to take. This journey was to the promised land that God has prepared for all people. This journey would be the climax to the final promise of God. For Jesus was going to prepare a place for all those who believe so that they would have a place in His Father’s house.
This morning, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We remember how Jesus took the bread and blessed it and said, “Take and eat, this is my body broken for you. Take this cup, which is my blood, that shall be shed for you and for the world. Eat and drink and remember the Father’s love. Remember the gift that God has given the world. That those who believe, those who trust, those who have faith, will one day sit around the table of grace with all the saints in glory.”
John said in chapter 16, even our own grief will turn to joy one day when we see Jesus face to face.
As for today, as the choir leads us to the table of grace, to the cup that has been filled with love, let us come to the table and receive God’s amazing love through these simple elements of God’s love. Come to the cross and remember what Jesus did for you.

Happy birthday to Marley Collins, Sandy Moynahan’s nephew

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