The Upper Room Discourse 2 Rabbi Michael Weiner
John 13:1 Now it was just before the feast of Passover. Yeshua knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them until the end.
Now that’s a curious tag at the end of Matthew 13:1, … He loved them until the end. Why bother to say that? The upper room discourse (we will find) is an expression of Yeshua’s love. In His love, He is preparing His disciples (and by extension, you and me) for the things that are coming. Everything Yeshua says and does is at work on many levels. He was talking to them, 2,000 years ago, yet He is still talking to us today.
The opposite of Yeshua’s love is the world’s hate … John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hates you. God’s plan is to overcome hate with love.
How did Yeshua love them to the end? (He still loves us in the same way.) By devoting His last hours to PREPARE His disciples to stand in the face of the persecution that He knew lay ahead. In doing so, He set preparation in motion that is still to our benefit. We all know that believers were persecuted in the years following the crucifixion. And yes, I believe there is persecution for believers in the years yet to come. Let’s see how Yeshua’s words prepare us for these trials.
The first lesson is found in Yeshua washing the disciples’ feet. John 13:5b He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel wrapped around Him. Yeshua was teaching them a higher level of love (and service) to one another than they had previously known.
Do you recall they were still very competitive around Him? Just as Yeshua is beginning the upper room discourse, we read this … Luke 22:24 But there was also a quarrel among them about which of them is considered the greatest. There they were, only hours from the crucifixion and still quite dysfunctional.
Then Peter would not allow Yeshua to wash his feet. But Yeshua had this to say … John 13:12-15 So after He had washed their feet and put His robe back on and reclined again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’ – and rightly you say, for I am. So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example – you should do for each other what I have done for you.
“You should do for each other what I have done for you.” In washing the disciples’ feet, Yeshua took on the duty of the lowliest servant. I like the concept of servant leaders. Just before a list of the fruits of the Spirit, we read. Galatians 5:13 Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom – only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Growing to maturity involves serving with humility. Let us follow Yeshua’s example. What would be the equivalent today of foot washing? Any type of service to individuals within the community. Our assignment to prepare for difficult times ahead is to develop a servant’s heart toward the community of God. John 15:13 No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. And while Yeshua was doing exactly that, he was praying for those who were persecuting Him. Luke 23:34a But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” He loved them to the end. We should follow His example.