Jesus Final Week: THURSDAY
In the Upper Room
All of the events on Thursday occurred in the Upper Room except for the prayer at Gethsemane, Arrest and the Trial.
“John has by far the longest account of the upper room, though curiously he says nothing about the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Still we owe to him most of our information about what our Lord said to His disciples on that night. One feature of the discourse is Jesus’ emphasis on love. The Greek noun agape (“love”) and the verb agapao (“love”) occur only eight times in Chs. 1-12 but 31 times in Chs. 13-17.” (NASB Study Bible)
Washing the Disciple’s Feet (John 13:1-20)
Just before the Passover Meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. John gives us the context of this act: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:3-5 NASB).
Upon realizing that he was about to accomplish his task and was about to return to his glorious state in heaven with the Father, he washed his disciples’ feet.
“Washing of the feet was the first act on entering the tent or house after a journey. The Orientals wore only sandals, and this washing was refreshing as well as cleanly. In the case of ordinary people, the host furnished the water, and the guests washed their own feet, but in the richer houses, the washing was done by a slave. It was looked upon as the lowliest of all services (1Sa 25:41)” (ISBE).
The NASB Study Bible suggests that the washing of feet is “normally performed by a servant. However, on that particular occasion, there was no servant and no one else volunteered.” Jesus’ action was during the meal, not upon arrival, done deliberately to emphasize a point. It was a lesson in humility, but it also set forth the principle of selfless service that was so soon to be exemplified in the cross. John alone tells of this incident, but Luke says that in rebuking the disciples over a quarrel concerning who would be the greatest, Jesus said, ‘I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). Jesus life of service will culminate on the cross.”
This is a lesson on humility and service everyone should follow. Are you willing to take the ‘lowliest of all services’ while you savor your success? Can you do the same when you are about to be promoted to the highest position in the company? When you’re already up there, can you still go down to perform such humble act?
The Last Supper (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-38)
“There were two feasts rolled into one, the Passover feast and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Either name is employed” (RWP). A normal practice was to slaughter the sacrificial lamb on the afternoon of 14 Nisan and ate it together at sunset of 15 Nisan. Jewish day is from sunset to sunset. The disciples thought they were going to celebrate the normal Passover. But Jesus knew he was the sacrificial lamb and had to die on Passover Day (15 Nisan), so he prepared the meal a day earlier (14 Nisan). Jesus probably ate the Passover meal with his disciples at a regular time but without a lamb since He would die on the cross as the Passover Lamb.
To prevent Judas from giving information to the plotters, Jesus made a secret arrangement for the venue of the Last Supper. The venue was the ‘upper room.’
While they were having supper at the table, Jesus made a surprise announcement that one of them would betray him. Judas understood what Jesus meant. And as soon as he received the piece of bread from Jesus, he departed to execute the plot to arrest his Master. We all know what happened next.
The rest of the disciples did not immediately understand what was going on, they “were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, ‘Buy the things we have need of for the feast’; or else, that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29 NASB).
Jesus Comforts the Disciples (John 14:1-16:33)
By now, the disciples knew that Jesus was soon to die. So Jesus comforted them by saying that he has to go to prepare their place in heaven. His absence is only temporary. However, Jesus’ comfort centered on the ministry of the Holy Spirit – the παράκλητος which means intercessor, consoler:-advocate or comforter (Strog-Lite). Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth, Luke 14:16). However, parakletos also refers to Jesus Christ because he, too has represented the Father to the disciples but from that time on the Holy Spirit will represent him and the Father (Gundry)
Here is what the ISBE says about the ‘parakletos’ (paraclete), “In John 14:16 the Paraclete is promised as one who is to take the place of Jesus. It is declared elsewhere by Jesus that it is expedient that He go away, for unless He go away the Paraclete will not come (John16:7). Is the Paraclete, then, the successor or the substitute for Christ as He is sometimes called? The answer is that He is both and neither. He is the successor of Christ historically, but not in the sense that Christ ceases to act in the church. He is the substitute for Christ’s physical presence, but only in order that He may make vital and actual Christ’s spiritual presence…The promise of Jesus in 14:18, “I come unto,” is parallel and equivalent in meaning with the preceding promise of the Paraclete. The following are given as the specific forms of activity of the Holy Spirit: (1) to show them the things of Christ, (2) to teach them things to come, (3) to teach them all things, (4) to quicken their memories for past teaching, (5) to bear witness to Christ, (6) to dwell in believers, (7) other things shown in the context such as “greater works” than those of Christ (see John 14:16; John 14:17), (8) to convict of sin, of righteousness and judgment.” (ISBE)
In Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
After a long discourse comforting his disciples, Jesus came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him” (Luke 22:39 NASB) Matthew gives us the name of the place – Gethsemane, “Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matt. 26:36-38 NASB)
Part of an oil press (Gath shemen/Gath shemenim) where the olive is crushed to produce the best
oil. Best oil is brought to the temple, it is given to God. (Screen Grab: The Path to the Cross.
Vander Laan. http://www.biblegateway.com)
Gethsemane is a place at the foot of the mount of Olives beyond Kidron. The name seems to be formed from ‘gath,’ ‘a press’ and ‘shemen,’ ‘oil’ (gathshemen/Gethsemane). It is probably the place where olive oil from the Mount of Olives is processed for use. It appears that the oil press is part of an orchard hence the title Garden of Gethsemane.
I consider the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, as Jesus’ inner circle. He took them with him in his moment of anguish and grief. What they can do was only to accompany him and stay awake. But they cannot in any way, ease the burden of their Master. They were witnesses of that momentous time when the sorrow is great as described by Luke, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44 NASB)
Jesus’ distress was not just physical, it was an inner suffering of a sinless Son of God who was about to accomplish the task of redemption. The ‘cup’ (Matt. 26:42) is a symbol of God’s sorrow, judgment and wrath. He was about to drink such a cup. As a human being, he weighed in on the suffering that he is about to face. The struggle was real! He drank it anyway! Jesus won the victory over sin right there at the Garden of Gethsemane. “The decisive victory he won in the garden enabled him to meet his betrayal, trial and death with renewed courage and assurance” (Bridegway).
Thursday Night and Friday, Jesus’ Arrest and Trial (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16)
The following accounts are taken from Halley’s Bible Handbook.
His Arrest (John 18:1-12)
“It was about midnight. The Roman garrison, consisting of a cohort of soldiers, about 500 or 600, led by the chief captain, with emissaries from the high priest evidently thinking they were on a dangerous mission, were guided by Judas to the place of Jesus’ retreat. As they streamed out of the East Gate, down the Kedron road, with lanterns, torches and weapons, they were visible from the garden where Jesus was. As they approached, Jesus, by his unseen power, caused them to fall to the ground, to make them understand that they could not take him against his will. To make Jesus’ identification certain, Judas pointed him out by kissing him.” (Halley)
The Trial of Jesus (Mark 14:53-15:20)
In order to be precise as to the chronology of Jesus’ Trial I am quoting Halley again.
There were two trials: before the Sanhedrin, and before Pilate the Roman governor. Judea was subject to Rome. The Sanhedrin could not execute a death sentence without the Roman governor’s consent.
There were three stages in each trial, six in all.
- Before Annas (John 18:12-24). About midnight, Caiaphas was high priest. But his father-in-law, Annas, who had been deposed 16 A.D. still retained the influence of the office. The family had grown immensely wealthy through the trading booths in the Temple. On the High Priest of the Hebrew nation rests primary responsibility for the death of Jesus.
- Before the Sanhedrin, in the house of Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57; Mark. 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:24). Between midnight and daybreak. This was the main Jewish trial. They condemned him on the charge of blasphemy, from his own acknowledgement that he was the Son of God, Mk. 14:61-62. Then, while waiting for daylight, they mocked him. This was when Peter denied him. This session, being in the night, was, by their own law, illegal.
- At Daylight, the Sanhedrin officially ratified its midnight decision (Matt. 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71), to give it appearance of Legality. The charge was “blasphemy”. But with Pilate that would have little weight. So for him, they concocted the charge of sedition against the Roman government. Their real reason was their envy of Jesus’ popularity (Matt. 27:18).
- Before Pilate (Matt. 27:2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23: 1-5; John 18:28-38), shortly after daylight. Jesus made no reply to their accusations. Then Pilate took him within the palace, for a private interview, which further satisfied him of Jesus’ innocence. Learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent him to Herod, who had jurisdiction over Galilee.
- Before Herod (Luke 23:6-12). This was the Herod who had killed John the Baptist, and whose father had murdered the children of Bethlehem. Jesus refused to answer any of his questions. Herod mocked Jesus, and sent him back to Pilate.
- Before Pilate again (Matt. 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:39-19:16). Pilate attempted to go over the head of the rulers to the people. But he packed court chose Barabbas. Then Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged, hoping that would satisfy the multitude. His wife sends word of her dream. Pilate is amazed at the calm majesty of Jesus under the crown of thorns. But there are rumblings of a rising riot, and threats to report to Caesar, and Pilate gives sentence. (Halley)
Bible Gateway: www.biblegateway.com
Google Images: www.paintingandframe.com
Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. Third Edition. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2002.
Halley, Henry H. Halley’s Bible Handbook. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964.
NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995.
MySword for Android: For Bridgeway, ISBE, Strong-Lite