Do you Understand?

The second in my short series of monologues for Holy Week, tonight looking at the events in the upper room on the night before Jesus died.
‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked. 
No I do not… the more time I spend with Jesus the less I understand… He is forever turning things upside down… If it’s not the temple traders’ tables, it’s the established order of things!
I mean, take tonight for example… We’d all gathered to celebrate the Passover together… The lamb had been duly prepared and we were all together remembering the old, old stories of God rescuing his people from the hands of their oppressors… sharing not only the lamb, but the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs and wine…
Everything was familiar, then in the middle of it he starts talking about the bread being his body, broken for us… the wine, his blood poured out for us… Andrew and John whispered about something Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptiser had said years ago, before I met Jesus, about him being the Lamb of God given to take away the sins of the earth…
It was weird… it changed the whole mood… Shattered the sense of the familiar… traditions broken…
And then in the middle of it all he did it again, he got up from the table, stripped down to his loincloth and took a basin and water and started to go around washing the feet of those lounging at the table…
It was demeaning… it was like what Mary had done earlier in the week out at Bethany, washing Jesus’ feet and anointing them with that expensive perfume… But here was Jesus doing the same for us… although without the perfume… Yet he was our leader, not a mere woman… this was the job for a servant or the youngest in the group… not the one who had been hailed as the one who had come in the name of the Lord when we had entered Jerusalem.
I said as much… suggested that John should have got up and taken over as the youngest one there… And I said to Jesus “Master, what do you think you are doing… You’re not going to wash my feet…”
But he said “You don’t understand now, but later you will...”
I didn’t understand, and I still don’t, so I said “No, you’re not washing my feet!”
And he said “Unless I wash you, you can have nothing to do with me.”
So I said “Ok then – don’t just wash my feet but… but wash me head to toe!’
Andrew laughed across the table and said, “Typical! Simon the Rock… always from one extreme to another…”
I was about to answer him, but then Jesus said something about those who have had a bath only need to wash their feet…
I haven’t a clue what that’s supposed to mean… But he then said that not everyone there was clean… And while people were trying to working out what he meant by that, or who he meant by that, he got dressed again and took his place at the table.
That’s when he asked “Do you understand what I have done for you?”
None of us had a clue, but he then said he was setting us an example and that those who were greatest should be ready to serve others… as he had served us… I think that was because we’d all been arguing earlier about who would be Jesus’ right hand man when the revolution happened… But instead of being chastened it started a debate about who was most ready to serve…
And as if that wasn’t enough he also said that not only was not everyone clean, but that someone who had shared bread with him would betray him… So again that set everyone wondering what that was about and who he was referring to… So I said to John, who was lounging beside Jesus, to ask him who he meant… I didn’t hear exactly what Jesus said but a moment or two later Judas got up and left in a marked manner…
But by that stage the dinner table had descended into chaos… Some still talking about who was the greatest or who was most willing to serve, others saying that they would never betray the master… And I was probably the loudest… I said that I was ready to go with him to prison and even to death, if that is what he was getting at when he referred to his broken body and poured out blood…
But he then said: “I tell you, Simon… my Rock, before the cock crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
Deny knowing him!? Never! There are times when I don’t think that HE knows ME… understands me…
But then I really don’t understand him at times… Indeed, even after 3 years I wonder if I really DO know him…
Selah

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