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Day Nineteen

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to
leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he
loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already
prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the
Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was
returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped
a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash
his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
John 13:1-5
Jesus knew “that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.”
He knew he had just a few moments alone with his disciples. The disciples knew about
the cross, but they didn’t see Jesus on the cross. They had an image in their minds that
Jesus would do his “messiah thing” to get them out from under Roman oppression, but
never to die on the cross. They were still following Jesus for what they could get out of
the deal, but Jesus had other plans. Jesus began to teach them one of his most valuable
lessons. It was time for his disciples to become servant-leaders. If you want to lead, you
need to learn how to serve. If you can’t serve well, you will never lead well. Jesus was
infusing hope in his disciple’s hearts. He wanted to leave his disciples as servant-leaders
who would bring the hope of the gospel to a broken world. Jesus was and is hope for us
today. Hope is the basis of spiritual formation. It transforms us, drawing us closer to
Jesus so that others may be drawn to him.
They still tell the story at William and Mary College of Benjamin of magnificent
President Ewell. For a century and a half, this prestigious Virginia school had been a
leader among American universities. Then came the Civil War. In the hard days of
reconstruction that followed, William and Mary went bankrupt. Soon it had a deserted
campus, decaying buildings, and no students. As with so many Southern schools after
that tragic war, everyone wrote it off as dead.
Everyone, except its president; he had given his best years to advancing the liberal arts
through that school. He refused to give up now. So, every morning, President Ewell went
to the deserted campus, climbed the tower of its main building, and rang the bells,
calling the school to class. He behaved as though the school was still there.
People thought he was crazy. Nevertheless, every day for seven years, President Ewell
rang the bells at William and Mary, in defiance of the despair and hopelessness that
would destroy everything he held valuable. Eventually and miraculously, it worked.
Others caught his vision. Students, teachers, and money returned. Today, America’s
second oldest university thrives again, because of the hope of a single man.
Jesus brings hope to a broken world. The eternal hope of Jesus transforms our hearts.
We need hope in our hopeless world. Jesus did more than just ring the bell, but he died
on the cross for our sins. Hope is the basis of spiritual formation. It brings us closer to
Jesus so that others may be drawn to him.
This morning, pray for more hope in your life. Pray for hope in your relationships. Pray
for Jesus to be your only source of hope. Pray for hope in our city. Pray for hope in our
nation. Pray for hope in our world.