Read Luke 22: 1-23
How do I write about the Last Supper?
I started this devotional three times… got mired down with so many thoughts, words, questions, trying to figure out what to say and how to say it…
This night ushers in the 3 holiest days of our Christian calendar:
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday. I hope and pray that somewhere in these words, you find a glimpse of something that draws you closer to Jesus and brings more meaning to these final 3 days of our Lenten Journey together.
This celebratory meal of Passover is forever changed by the words of Jesus that night, followed by His betrayal, suffering and death on the cross.
I can’t imagine being there, living in the midst of the story’s unfolding and Not knowing the ending…
We read these passages knowing about the Resurrection.
The disciples and the women who loved and followed Jesus did not.
They sat at the table with Him, probably like they had done on the two previous Passovers, but this one was different.
First, Jesus began by talking about His upcoming suffering and telling them how glad He was to be sharing this meal with them. Their presence made a difference to Jesus in the final days. He wanted to celebrate the freedom of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, but even more so the freedom we have- both on earth and for eternity- through His body and blood sacrificed for us.
Jesus lived through this evening knowing the end of the story.
Was he heavy hearted for his disciples? He knew they would struggle to stay faithful. One of those closest to Him would deny Him, another would betray Him. They would scatter in fear… after witnessing the pain, sorrow and suffering in His upcoming death.
This meal was the last time He would eat with them…His final few moments to give them hope before the darkest hours.
He took the bread and broke it, this is my body- broken for you. Take and eat.
This is the cup of the New Covenant through My blood, take and drink.
- Were the disciples puzzled as He said these words and they took and ate & drank?
- Were they aware of the power of those moments as Jesus set into motion a meal that would be repeated in memory of His sacrifice, death and resurrection?
Jesus was telling them that He is THE Passover Lamb.
His sacrifice would forever save them from death.
He would die, once for all of us that we might live.
This Passover table was different.
Did they sense it? Did they question Him for more explanations?
We approach this communion meal with awe, reverence and gratitude.
While they sat in confusion and fear of what all this meant.
Every Maundy Thursday, I think about these questions, so grateful for the gift of salvation in Christ, but wondering what it was like for the disciples who lived the story alongside Jesus.
Ultimately, isn’t that what we are invited to do… to live the unfolding of our story with Jesus alongside us. Not always knowing the ending, let alone the next chapter. But with the faith and awe of the disciples, we too can follow Him – in the not knowing- but in trusting Him.
There was much they didn’t know or understand. Many things they wanted to be different- changes they would have made to the unfolding story.
But they knew:
- Jesus was their Savior and Lord.
- He has been their Teacher. He had spoken of these things, even if they didn’t understand.
- He said he would be with them always, even though he was going away.
They trusted Him.
He said one of them would betray Him, but still offered the bread and wine to ALL of them. His body was broken, His blood shed, not just for the “good” disciples”, the ones without sin, struggle, or doubt and disbelief…
“Take and eat, ALL of you” Jesus says.
This meal and Jesus word and actions changed the course of History…
Jesus said, I am the Passover lamb. My death and resurrection will save you… ALL of you who will take and eat/drink.
On this night, the world begins to spin on a different axis:
The Passover meal with Jesus preparing to be the sacrificial Lamb, for the sins of the world.
The Garden, where in agony Jesus asked that this cup of suffering be taken from Him, longing for it to be different… but rose from His prayers with a heart , mind and will surrendered to God’s will.
Tried and Convicted.
Take a few moments to reflect on what it would be like for Jesus’ disciples and followers to witness and live through this without knowing the triumphant ending.
Jesus offered the bread and wine to All of the disciples, and they all took and ate/drank- are their things that keep you from fully participating in this communion meal and receiving the fullness of its meaning in your life?
We are invited to come to the Table and take and eat/drink from the hands of Jesus.
Listen to this song by Michael Card: “Come to the Table “ and reflect on the wonder of this invitation!
Read Luke 22:39-71
Walk through the events as an observer or participant in the story. Allow it to impact and shape how you walk through today as well.
*Maundy Thursday is called this because of the commandment Jesus gave in John 13:34
Read this article to find out more; about the meaning of the name Maundy Thursday.
Read this story in each of the Gospels:
Mark 14, Matthew 26, John 13
Read about the first Passover and look for similarities, metaphors symbolism in the actions and words of Jesus during the last Supper. Exodus 12:1-14
Read about the components of the Passover meal; and look for more symbolism that align with Jesus words and actions as He became the Passover Lamb.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15, 21-38
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 44: Revelation 1-7