Today’s reading: John 13

OpeningDear God, Thank you for freeing us from the power of sin and freeing us for life in the Spirit. Please fill us with your spirit so that we may abide in Christ by faith. We pray that with this faith, we will not capitulate to the oppressive systems of this world but instead be with those who have been oppressed by the systems of this world. We long to see your Kingdom come so that all will see your love and glory and so that all the violence and oppression in this world will be vanquished.

ReflectionJesus here is revealing who God truly is. Instead of seeking power and glory, Jesus takes on the role of a servant, even to his disciples. By washing his disciples feet, Jesus has shown that even though he is God, he will even come among us to serve us. And because the lord of the universe has washed the feet of his disciples, we ought to serve and share with one another.

Just prior to washing his disciples’ feet, we see that Jesus is aware that Judas would betray him. However, he does not stop him. By allowing Judas to betray him, Jesus is willingly taking the road to the cross. Even though we all have betrayed Jesus like Judas did, Jesus nevertheless signals to his disciples that he would willingly go to his death for our sake.

After that, Jesus goes on to tell his disciples that if they are his disciples they are to love one another. This love for one another is displayed through serving one another. By caring and standing up for each others’ needs, we display our love for one another. However, that same love must also be shown to those outside the church. As disciples of Jesus, we are to follow the way of the cross. We carry our crosses by standing with our neighbors, particularly by standing with those who are rejected by the world. In this way, we make Jesus known to the world and proclaim that the Kingdom has come.

Finally, Jesus predicts that Peter would deny him. Even though we are disciples of Jesus, we are weak like Peter. If we face the pressures of the world on our own, we will deny Jesus like Peter. But if we place our faith in Jesus, then we can overcome the pressures of the world. Even as the lure of empire remains strong, will we remain steadfast in our loyalty to Jesus and stand with those oppressed by empire?

So now we must take up our cross and follow the way of Jesus into solidarity with our neighbors and resist the demands and temptations of empire to betray or abandon our calling to be disciples of Jesus.

ClosingIn what ways can we take up our crosses and stand in solidarity with those in our own communities that have been rejected by others?

Created by: Ivan Lau
About the author: Ivan is a third-year pharmacy student in Washington, DC. He is a lifelong Marylander and wannabe theologian and likes to spend his free time reading nerdy books and binging on video games and anime.

Image by: Lexi Xu