Have you ever been in a situation where you have to put on a happy face, smile and make the best of it just to get through a moment? Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps? The air is filled with the savory smells of turkey, herbed stuffing and the tinge of sweetness from the pumpkin pie, but simultaneously the unmistakable smell of bitterness, anger and frustration lie just below the surface. The scene where we meet Jesus in John 13 is at a table riddled with many emotions just below the surface and Jesus—both God and perfectly human— has many of His own, but bitterness, anger and frustration are none of them. Instead, John records that Jesus has made love “to the end” (v. 1) the most tangible expression in the room.

The word “love” chosen here is the Greek word agapē—the kind of love that is sacrificial and has the best interest of the other in mind. It’s a serving kind of love. A love too vast to be encapsulated by emotion alone and always backed-up with physical expression. It’s love that defines love and is the root of all other forms. Love was in the air! Yet there were other emotions in the air that night that John records. Human ones. Ones you and I know well, that the Son of Man was experiencing while He embodied agapē by washing the feet of His disciples. Jesus certainly was “feeling all the feels” as He spent His last hours with His disciples. Jesus knew the purpose behind His begotteness. To die an innocent death carrying the guilt of all humanity. He knew that He would soon endure physical pain from thorns, nails and suffocation. He’d seen how loss impacted His friends before and He knew His departure would initially be devastating and confusing. Jesus knew He had just washed the feet of the one that would betray Him. He knew He would soon be with the Father and victory was on the horizon, but first there would be an agonizing separation. He knew.

Can you imagine knowing all of this and keeping it together, staying the course, confident and determined to carry out the redemption plan? None of us could—only Jesus! Jesus was Lord even over all of the intense emotions, and not only kept himself together enough there at the table, but continues to hold all things together by His reconciling act of peace on the cross. Because of Jesus we can have a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Phillipians 4:7) even amongst feeling all the feels that come along with being human. We don’t have to hide or be ashamed of our emotions, Jesus certainly wasn’t. Instead, we must follow the example of Jesus who had full confidence in the Father, His identity as Son and who understood the mission for which He was sent. May we too show up at tables—real and metaphorical ones—with the same grace and humility demonstrated by King Jesus and have love be the most tangible expression in the room.

Jessica Klootwyk
Group & Women’s Discipleship Director

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