Listening to a sermon yesterday by David Goneau led me to write these words. I’m not a writer, as you will see, but John 12-13 led me to write the following imagined conversation between two nameless disciples of Jesus.
The din deafening, the palm fronds waving, the sunlight blinding in the late morning light, the children’s voices ringing with laughter while two fishermen slowed their pace from the crowd in order to whisper to each other
“Can you believe this?,” says the older one to the younger.” Think about it, not long ago we left nets and boats in Galilee…and now…” his voice faltered even more.
“Yes and NOW,” says the younger, “now we are the council for the promised messiah! The King of Israel. Think what Eema would say now…one of her sons not a lowly fisherman but a prince!”
The older, and more learned of the two, thought of his readings in the prophets. “This is what Zechariah foresaw: palms, hosannas, and a donkey!”
“I know, a donkey. Couldn’t he have ridden on a warhorse? Now that would have made a statement!”
“Peace, son. He brings peace, not a sword.”
The younger still had stars in his eyes. “Do you think we will get a seat next to him when he sits on the throne? Maybe you can be on his right and I can sit on his left. Hey, let’s catch up! I think they are going to up to the Temple Mount. We don’t want to miss it.
As the two made their way down from the temple and walked along a city street, the younger spoke again, “Did you see how those marketers reacted when HE went nuts on them? You gotta believe those Pharisees are going crazy. There is no denying it, there is a new political power in town.
The older remained quiet in thought.
The younger, not recognizing the silence, continued, “we should hurry up. Some of the others have gone on ahead to make plans for the feast tonight. If we get there we might be able to pick our seats and sit close. I wonder if he’ll tell us what he is up to and what jobs he’ll give us. You know, we didn’t abandon him in Galilee as some did. That ought to count for something.”
Finally, the older broke his silence. “Something isn’t right. What do you make of all his statements that he is going to suffer and die? It just doesn’t make sense. We’re on the brink of victory and he’s talking about death. I don’t get it.”
As the disciples gathered around Jesus, all eyes were focused on Jesus. He, saying nothing, got up and went behind a small wooden screen. When he emerged, Peter’s gasp was the loudest. There Jesus stood in a towel, like a nameless servant.
The younger leaned over to the older. “WHAT is he doing? He’s the king! Why is he doing this horrible thing?
“No! May it never be that YOU wash my feet!”
“If I do not wash your feet, you can have no part in me.”
“Then wash my feet and my whole body!”
“My friends, do you now understand? Do likewise. For my kingdom is not designed by human minds. Rather, dying leads to life, service leads to freedom, being the least leads to greatness.