Daily D – John 13:3
When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him.”
JOHN 13:3 (CSB)
The sands of the hourglass ran out. It was turned over one last time.
Judas left on his errand. He was going to show Jesus and those other would-be leaders how to lead with authority. Leadership leads to financial gain. Leadership convenes other leaders. Leadership gets things done, including difficult, dangerous, deadly things. Leadership prepares for trouble. Leadership accomplishes its purpose.
Yes, by the dawn of a new day, everyone would know who knew how to get things done and who would run, hide, and/or die. Leaders lead the way.
The die was cast. There was no turning back, no altering of the course. Jesus was as good as dead.
What Judas intended for humiliation instead led to glory. All Jesus had come to be and to do was accomplished. People would now see how good God is. Every sinner now had a way home. Every prodigal, every publican, every person everywhere would now receive an offer of love without limits, life without end, joy without delay.
Nine men would run and hide. Two would follow. One would deny. One would stand alone with a horrified mother, her sister, and other female disciples who would accompany Jesus all the way to the grave.
Judas himself would gain a measure of clarity. He would soon see himself for who he had become. As much as he despised his former companions, as disappointed as he was in Jesus, soon he would feel the shame and loathing of his definitive act in this drama.
Jesus begins his final last words with a term he only uses once, a term John would hear and embrace and employ again and again in his first of three short letters (1, 2, 3 John). In verse 33 Jesus says to the eleven men left in the room, “Little children.”
Jesus chooses the tender expression a father would use with his children to express how dearly loved they were. It is interesting that he would express such love all the while knowing what would happen in a few hours as they ran and hid. Yet how could he do any differently? This is who he is. Additionally, he saw not only what was immediate, but what was to come.
One day, these cowardly lions would become as fiercely, loyally, lovingly expressive as their Lord that no one anywhere would believe how they behaved in these moments.
It was done. All that remained was the doing.
Famous Last Words now follow. Listen carefully. These words are weighty. These truths are heavy. Embrace them and bear them. Enfold them and express them. Allow them to reshape your thinking. Use them to transform your service. Memorize them to guide your steps.
Judas was a leader. Jesus knew it. He called him to himself. He gave him every opportunity to express his leadership with Kingdom love and humble service. Judas chose a different path.
Jesus stayed true to his path. Although those last steps were burdensome beyond his ability as his life ebbed toward death, he obediently, lovingly placed one foot in front of another until they were nailed in place.
We were steps away from entering the gallery where Michelangelo’s David towers fifteen feet upon his pedestal. A painting of Joseph and Nicodemus removing Jesus from the cross is on display in that anteroom. It was begun by one artist who completed the top half. Another finished the bottom half.
The women who stayed with Jesus all the way were there on the bottom left. On the bottom right was a very alive Lazarus. Next to him and reaching up to catch Jesus’ shins as he was lowered was Martha. Kneeling at his feet was Mary. Of course she did. Of course she would.
Lazarus reminds us that death is not the end of the story.
Martha reminds us that death is real and must be reckoned with appropriately.
Mary reminds us how love feels a loss and how love hopes in spite of the evidence.
Wouldn’t it be glory for the women, for Joseph, for Nicodemus, for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary to see Jesus alive again? From our place here in John 13:31, Jesus declared the glory to come on the other side of Good Friday and Silent Saturday.
Resurrection Day was as good as here. It is glorious. It is the hope of all the world.
Jesus begins his famous last words with this promise and with a new commandment in verses 34 and 35. You might want to begin pondering it now. It is definitive. It is ultimate. It is the evangel written upon our countenance when we follow our leader, the risen and glorified Jesus.
I will lead with love and not with power.
Our Father, you display your glory in your magnificent, conquering love. Your love breaks down barriers. Your love forgives and heals. Your love seeks and finds. Your love endures forever. Yes, your love is glorious. Lead me ever deeper into this ultimate goodness. Empower me to lead myself and others with this extravagant delight. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.