(Part two of a series on how Jesus would answer the question, “What would I do if I only had a week left to live?” Here’s Part one. )
2. That week, Jesus taught clearly and intensely
If Jesus spent the nights on the Mount of Olives, during the days of this week, Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem. He was teaching. Sometimes he would pick the subject. But most often, people would ask him questions. Sometimes they were genuine questions. Sometimes they were traps.
He answered so skillfully that no one dared ask him more questions. And these were people who prided themselves on their ability to ask questions, to debate.
And then, on his last night before his death, during what we call the Last Supper, he taught his disciples. John has a record of part of the conversation, like an annotated outline. It’s still five chapters of John’s 21 chapters.
Jesus was making sure that he spent his last hours, his last interactions, on what would last—well-trained lives of people. We are still reading those words. Memorizing, teaching, applying. I realized recently how much of my teaching draws on what Jesus said in this last week.
3. That week, Jesus lived in relationship.
He spent the nights in prayer. He spent the days in teaching. But he spent the evenings in Bethany. With Martha and Mary and Lazarus. With friends. At the house of Simon the leper. I’m guessing that the meals and the conversation were remarkable and normal.
And he spent the breaks with the disciples. There were times when he wasn’t teaching, but sitting with them, walking around, walking to and from Jerusalem.
We often retreat in difficult times. But Jesus, with only a week left, stayed engaged. Because what was core to his whole life was relationship. At that last meal, he told his friends,” If you love me, keep my commands. Here’s my command. That you love one another.” And so he spent his last week with one another.
On Thursday night, the disciples and Jesus sat together to eat. Jesus told them that he’d been looking forward to this night.
I mentioned the teaching from that night already. But during that night he modeled relationship, too. He washed the disciples’ feet, including Judas’. He told Peter about his denial, but also told him that he would be okay.
And part of that relationship included making arrangements for others, continuing to fulfill his responsibilities. I love that he tells the disciples where to find the colt. He tells the disciples about the arrangements for the last supper. From the cross, he makes arrangements for John to take care of Mary.