The journey to the cross – something old, something new

Day 36 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read about Jesus’ last supper, the Passover, with his disciples.

(Matthew 26:17-46, Mark 14:12-42, Luke 22:7-46, John 13 – 16))

Last Supper

There is an excitement about getting something new.  The latest shiny possession that now hangs in the closet or sits in the garage.  But eventually, it gets old along with everything else.  It looses its shine, it’s uniqueness and settles into the rest of our stuff.  And we go looking for something else brand new. Something to satisfy the longing within us.

Perhaps what we are looking for is something new that lasts forever and will never loose its luster.

Jesus and His disciples assembled in a borrowed room to eat the yearly Passover meal together.  They had been acting out the ancient ritual all of their lives, this recounting of the Exodus experience over a table of lamb meat, bitter herbs and unleavened bread.  It was a celebratory festival, remembering the wonders of a God who delivered the people from Egyptian bondage in a most astounding way.

But tonight there was a solemn atmosphere.   Jesus says He has longed for this time to share this meal with these men, these disciples who had become His friends.  They had traveled together, discussed every topic under the sun, and been privy to the secrets of the kingdom.  They had seen miracle after miracle, and were in the presence of the greatest love they had ever known.

In the midst of the celebration, weighty matters are brought to light.  One will betray.  One will deny.  All will forsake.

It must have sent a chill down their spines.  What is He talking about?  They love Him.  They have left all to follow Him.  They would die for Him, or so they say.  While they asked, “Is it I?” I wonder if they looked at one another suspiciously as they thought, “It must be him,” because Luke tells us these men were still arguing over who was top dog among them.

This dispute is old.  They’ve been doing it all along, wanting the best seat, asking for special privileges, declaring that even if all fall away, “I will not!”

And Jesus, living out the last hours of his earthly life is trying to tell them about eternal things, showing them in His last actions what service and true love is by washing the disciples’ dirty, stinky feet.

It’s the end of the supper.  Jesus takes one more bite of bread in His hand and lifts one more drink from the supper cup, gives thanks for it, and offers His friends something new.  A new arrangement, a new transaction, a new commitment.  It is His promise to them because obviously they were incapable of keeping promises and remaining faithful.  This new covenant did not depend on the disciples.  It was wholly sustained by the Word made flesh sitting among them.  And His Word was His bond.  And His bond was love.

“This is my body . .  . this is my blood . . . ”  He had nothing else on earth to give them.  He owned no earthly possession other than the clothes on His back.

But He gave them His very life, His flesh and His blood.  And it would make them new.  And this newness would last a lifetime. Even longer than that – it would last for eternity.

Revised and re-posted from April 2014