Now another door opens. The inner door into Jesus’ heart is being opened by Him. And the inner door into the disciples’ heart is being knocked at that it, too, may open. It is the betrayal night. Jesus is alone with the inner circle. They have received Him. Now He will receive them into closer intimacy than yet before. They have opened their hearts to His love. Now He opens His heart to let out more the love that is there. Love accepted is free to reveal itself. And love revealing its warmth and tenderness and depth yet more calls out quickly a deeper, a tenderer love.
It’s the Passover evening. They have met, the twelve and their Master, by appointment, in the home of one of Jesus’ faithful unnamed friends. In a large upper room they are shut in, gathered about the supper board. As they eat Jesus is quietly but intently thinking. Four trains of thought pass through His mind side by side. The Father had trusted all into His hands. He had come down from the Father on an errand and would return when the errand was done.
And now the hour was come. The turn in the road was reached, the sharp turn down leading to the sharp turn up and then back. It had seemed slow in coming, that hour. Dreaded things seem to linger even while they hasten, dreaded longed-for things, dreaded in the experience of pain to be borne, eagerly longed for in the blessed result; as with an expectant mother. Now the hour’s here.
And yonder across the board sits the man so faithfully wooed, yet dead-set in his inner heart on a dark purpose, more evil in its outcome than he realizes. There must be more and tenderer wooing. He shall have yet another full opportunity. And under all is the heart-throb of love for these who are His own, being birthed into a new life by the giving of His very own life these months past. He loves His own, and will to the uttermost, the utterest, the mostest, limit of love and of time left Him before the great event. These are the thoughts passing quietly, clearly, intensely, through Jesus’ mind as they sit at supper.
Teaching Three Things in One Action.
Now He acts. Quietly He rises from the table, picks up a towel and fastens its end in His waistband for convenience in use, after the servant’s usual fashion. Then He pours water into a basin and turning stoops over the feet of the disciple nearest Him. And before they can recover from their wide-eyed astonishment He begins bathing his feet and then carefully wiping them with the convenient towel. And so around the circle. Peter, of course, protests, and so calls out a little of the explanation. And then with tender passionateness he asks for the washing to take in all his extremities, head and hands as well as feet. How their hearts must have felt the touch upon their feet!