“Finding your place at the table.”
Text: John 13:1-5
As you might expect, John gives the intimate view of the “Last Supper.” He shows the seating arrangement, the distance to Jesus and to each other. Famously depicted by Leonardo DiVinci in his famous painting.
The distance to Jesus and the relationship to each other was the issue that night, it remains the issue today in the Church.
First, Jesus left no one out. He seemed to protect the feelings of Judas when John asked him “Lord who is it?” He washed the feet of everyone that night, including Peter who would deny Him, and Judas who would betray him.
The distance to Jesus in the physical world has limitations. The spiritual limitations that night were pointed out by John in his Gospel after Jesus reveals one of them would betray Him.
John said, ”Lord who is it?” Peter, ”Where are you going and why can’t I come?” Thomas, ”Lord, we don’t know where you’re going so how can we know the way? Phillip, ” just show us the Father, that’s enough.” Three years they had been with Jesus. They had seen His miracles, heard His teaching, and yet their spiritual ignorance was truly amazing!
How did Jesus’ react to their questions? His answer shows the importance of closing, not only the distance to Him, but also to each other. He said, ”A new commandment I am giving you, love each other. Just as I loved you, you should love each other.”
Why? Because your love for each other proves to the world that we are His disciples. They had found their place at the table that night, but still struggled with finding the right place in their heart for Him and for each other.
Peter was about to deny Him publically. Except for John, the others would deny Him privately. Judas brought the betrayal money to supper that night. Other concerns at Supper that night were, who would be the MVP, ”most valuable person” in the Kingdom? Who would occupy the VIP seats in the Kingdom? Who was responsibility for the betrayal?
Spiritual competition in the Church never has a happy or productive ending. John’s position at Super that night, in the natural is limited. However, it is available to all of us in the supernatural. The position of greatness in the Church is found in Mark 10:45. We can all lay our head next to his heart.
The secret of unity in the Church is to never focus on your position in the Church, but focus on your spiritual distance to Jesus and to your Brothers and Sisters. Stop trying to convince people Who you are and demonstrate Whose you are by serving the “least of these of all my brethren.”
Without this unity, the Church has no message for the unbelievers in the marketplace. Psalms 133 “How blessed it is…” When you draw close to Jesus, you close the distance between each other. Too many are trying to get close to Jesus without serving those closest to them in the Body.
You can bump into each other and be aggravated, or you can serve with the spirit and heart of our ultimate model. Our professed closeness to Jesus is evidenced by our actions, not our articulation.
Questions all of us need to asking when we gather at the Lord’s Table. What needs to be removed to close the distance to Jesus? What needs to be removed to close distance to our brothers and sisters?
“Let a man examine himself…”