Jesus at the Last Supper: The Example and the Legacy
Rev. Charles Westby, Pastor
John 13:1-10, John 13:12-15, Matthew 26:26-29
March 13, 2019

This Lenten season we walk with Jesus to Jerusalem where He will suffer, die, and rise again. We stop at places along the way for prayerful reflection.

It is Jesus’s last supper with His disciples before His suffering and death. His hour has come.

Jesus gets up from supper. He lays aside His outer garment. He wraps a towel around His waist.

He puts some water in a bowl. He begins to wash His disciples’ feet.

He is the Teacher and the Lord. He should be served by them. Yet, He takes the form of a servant and serves them; He serves you.

This is the heart and soul of Christianity. The Creator and Lord of all serves us in humble sacrifice to restore us.

Jesus comes to Peter. Peter questions what Jesus is doing. “You do not understand this now,” says Jesus, “but you will understand later.”

Now Peter protests adamantly: “You will never wash my feet.”

Oh, proud Peter.

Jesus responds to him: “Peter. If I do not wash your feet, if you do not accept my service of you, you have no part with me.”

Now Peter is frightened: “Wash not only my feet, but my head and my hands.”

Jesus says to him, “Washing your feet is enough for now.”

What is Jesus doing?

He is demonstrating that we must first be served by the Teacher and Lord, by Him.

There is an uncleanness that we ourselves cannot get rid of, not by anything we could possibly do. It is not dirt on the feet, but the corruption of sin.

Because of this corruption, we are not clean before God the Father. To be clean, we must be served by the Son, the Teacher and the Lord, and be cleansed by Him.

To cleanse us, Jesus sheds His holy precious blood in His bitter sufferings and death. His hour has come. He turns away God’s just wrath against us. By His service for us at Calvary, on a cross, in atoning sacrifice, we are cleansed by faith.

Jesus’s service does not only cleanse, however, it inspires. It inspires in us the imitation of His humility and love. As He cleanses us in His humble service, being Teacher and Lord of all, He inspires us to love each other with the same self-giving love (John 13:15).

He inspires us to care for one another, to be humble and kind with one another, having the Gospel of reconciliation in our hearts and on our lips.

To inspire us, He gives us a wonderful legacy. He took bread. Gave thanks. Gave it to them. Eat, He says. This is my body given for you.

He took the cup, full of Passover wine. He gave thanks. He gave it to them. Drink, He says. This is my blood of the new testament in my blood, poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.

This is His legacy, His promise to you. It is as if He says to you: “My hour has come. My body is the sacrifice for all sins. In my body I bear all your sins and the sins of the whole world. My blood shed is the atonement that turns away God’s wrath. Now I give my sacrificial body and atoning blood to you in the bread and wine to eat and to drink in faith. I now assure you of the atonement I have made. By my service of love for you, I inspire your service of love for each other.”

Spending time with Jesus at the last supper, we give thanks to God for Christ’s service and legacy, and the inspiration of His love. May He continue to inspire His love in you always. Christ’s blessing and peace be with you all.

Amen.