Monday’s Holy Week reflection by Jo Neary on the subject of justice.
Read John 13:1-16 Jesus washes his disciples’ feet
- How does this passage make you feel? What do you notice in this passage or are drawn to? Ask God to help you understand why those parts of the passage are important for you today.
In a world where inequality and oppression continue and where politicians repeatedly seek to demonise “the other”, whether that be refugees, different races, people experiencing poverty, the young, benefit recipients, trans people, women – it is clear we live in an unjust society. Yet it is difficult to define justice. Politicians, philosophers, theologians, and academics all have their own theories and ideas. “Human beings are much better at recognising what is not fair, what is unjust, than at agreeing on what would be, and making it happen”1
In the same way that we might have different personal views of justice, so the bible has many different expressions of justice. Here are a few to get you started. God is concerned about the oppressed, Isaiah 1:17, God is concerned about relationship with humanity, John 3:16, God is concerned about feeding the hungry, Luke 3:11 God is concerned about abundance, Luke 6:38.
- What biblical images of justice spring into your mind?
Re read John 13:1-16
- Where do you notice justice in this passage?
- How does Jesus affirm all of the disciples’ “human dignity and the image of God within them?”2
- In what ways does Jesus challenge “social hierarchy and distinction of status?”3
- How does Jesus treat Judas?
- Jesus is the most powerful person in the room, how does he use his power?
Reflect on power and situations where you hold power.
- What might you be called to do with the power or influence you have?
- What do you think you might have found difficult about Jesus had you been present alongside him in his ministry?
- Who might you need to be more compassionate towards?
- How might we live out justice in our own lives: thinking about abundance, generosity, compassion, love and community?
Spend some time in prayer, offering unjust situations to God and praying for justice to be lived out in our actions and words.
“For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15
1P1 Embracing Justice, Isabelle Hamley, SPCK 2021
2p160 Embracing Justice
3P161 Embracing Justice