John’s Gospel narrates the conversation Jesus had with his apostles at the Last Supper. He was aware of the plotting of Judas and the Jewish leaders. He would leave the supper room and enter into the hours of his passion and death. He realized he would be abandoned and denied by his own disciples. Yet there is no pleading with them “to please support me in my trials, to stay at my side, to give me of your strength in the hour of my weakness.” Through Chapter 15 of St. John’s Gospel we read that Jesus has a lack of interest for himself; his concern is only for his disciples and for others.
It’s true that while he was in the Garden of Gethsemane a few moments later, he did ask Peter, James and John to remain awake and to assist him with their prayers. However, this was the moment at which the devil’s temptation was strongest. For Satan was tempting Jesus to abandon his values, to refuse his Father’s bidding, to turn away from the path of suffering and death. At that moment Jesus needed the strength the apostles could win for him through their prayers. He begged the apostles therefore to remain awake and to pray. Yet even at that moment, when they failed him and slept while he was being buffeted by Satan’s temptations, his concern for them compelled him to excuse them. “The spirit is willing,” he reflected, “but the flesh is weak.”
Throughout the whole of Chapter 15 Jesus is concerned only about these men, his disciples. Listen to Jesus’ words and see where his concern lay. “Remain in me and let my words remain in you and anything you ask will be given to you.” “Go out and bear much fruit, fruit that will last and then the Father will give you anything you ask in my name.” “What I command you is to love one another.”
If only we could have this total disregard for self and this fullness of love for one another, what a happy world we could create!