“I thought I had toiled in vain …” (Isaiah 49:4)

At the Last Supper, Jesus would certainly have had every reason to be disappointed. For the past three years, he had devoted his life to persuasive preaching; to giving an example of self-sacrifice and uncon­ditional love; and to bringing about dramatic victories over sickness, demonic powers, and even death. Yet no matter how hard he worked, God’s reign on earth still seemed like a distant dream.

Political leaders still dismissed him. Zealots were still relying on swords to usher in the kingdom of God. Religious leaders were jealous of his popularity and threatened by his seeming disregard for their nar­row rules. Many who once followed him enthusiastically had lost their passion or had become afraid and decided to go back home.

Then he looked around the table at his closest friends. He knew that one of them was about to betray him. Another ardently professed life­long loyalty, but Jesus saw that in just a few hours this fellow would deny ever having met him. The rest seemed to be completely unaware of all that hung in the balance. Was it all worth it?

Perhaps we too are facing disap­pointments. Our poor choices may have had devastating consequences for us and those we love. Our dream relationship may seem laden with conflict and hard work. We may feel like we’ve been derailed from the successful career path we had in mind—and through no fault of our own. Church politics seem to be more important than preaching the gospel or serving the needy. Even our own relationship with the Lord may seem weak and impure.

Take heart! Jesus didn’t give up, and neither should you. Whatever disappointment you face today pales before Jesus’ apparent failure on Holy Thursday. But as you imitate John and lean against his chest, you can sense how Jesus in turn is leaning on his Father in total trust. He knows soon enough he will win victory over all the forces of darkness. He knows that he is destined to overcome sin, Satan, and even death itself. And he’s doing it for you! So rest in his victory today, and know that he is with you.

“Jesus, thank you for your victory on the cross. Fill me with confidence and hope in you.”

Psalm 71:1-6,15,17;

John 13:21-33,36-38