It was Passover and the city was crowded with people. People celebrating one of Judaism’s most sacred holidays. Jesus and his disciples were among them.
Jesus beckoned his friends to join him for the evening meal, knowing that it would be his last on earth. He wanted to spend it with those closest to him – those who had left everything to follow him. They traveled the length and breadth of Israel sharing and teaching those who had ears to hear the message and hearts to believe. It had been a long three years and they were tired and weary to the bone.
Jesus instructed the twelve to seek out an upper room, away from prying eyes, for the meal. There was much he still wanted to share with them – to make them ready for what would come. He savored the opportunity to dine with those he readily called brothers – and sisters. They were loyal to him.
That is – all but one. One would betray him and he knew it. He even knew the person who would stab him in the back for a measly 30 pieces of silver. Yet he invited them all to recline at table so that he could prepare them for the horrendous events which would follow a few hours later.
“Take this bread and eat. It is my body which is broken for you,” he said. They must have been perplexed by such strange words.
“Take this cup and drink, for it is my blood, the blood of the new covenant.” Again strange words. What on earth could Jesus mean?
Then he took a towel and basin of water to wash their feet. Imagine their surprise when the Master stooped to wash the feet of his motley crew of companions. What could it mean? What does he mean?
But the final blow to the evening’s celebration came when Judas kissed him and fled to complete the dastardly deed. A deed that would set in motion the crowning piece of PAPA’s plan to reunite humankind and give us the opportunity to come into relationship with the Lord of the universe.
And so they dined. Wine and bread and perhaps some fruit. They must have laughed a little as they reminisced, only to grow silent as Jesus laid out the plan. A plan they didn’t comprehend. A plan for which they were little prepared.
Peter boldly stating he would never deny Jesus. Others vowing to stay awake while Jesus prayed in the Garden. Vows made by humans who meant what they said; but when faced with reality, gave way to their weak human frailties. What ought to have been a happy occasion commemorating God’s intervention in the lives of the Israelite’s and their miraculous escape from tyranny, turned dour and grim.
What did it all mean?
When I was a young wife and mom, Easter was a time to dress us all in our finery. Finery I spent weeks cutting, fitting and sewing. Everyone in our church waited to see what the Fitzgerald girls wore for the holiday. It became as much of the annual celebration as the reason for the celebration itself.
We’d come together on Holy or Maundy Thursday for evening worship and sometimes, the pastor would wash the feet of a few to commemorate Jesus’ washing of the disciples feet. He read the Gospel account of the “last supper” and we took communion in remembrance of what Jesus did for us those fateful last Passover days. The days of holy week passed with little attention to the true meaning as I rushed to finish the Fitzgerald girls Easter finery.
But today, Holy Thursday has a deeper, richer meaning. In my heart, I feel the disciples as they come together with the Lord to eat a meal little realize is His last. Disciples who love Him, but don’t have a clue how his impending death will change their lives forever.
I feel in my heart the sadness in Jesus’ heart. Sadness that the end is near and he is dining one last time with those he has come to love so very much. Sadness that one of them will betray him and shove the final nail in PAPA’s plan of salvation. Perhaps a bit of terror realizing the cruelty of the death he must endure to complete the Father’s Will.
And I anticipate his agony in the Garden as he seeks human courage, strength and determination to follow through to the bitter end.
Tonight I will prepare a meal. Nothing special. No wine or bread or fruit, just a simple meal. But I will eat it remembering what it is we commemorate on Thursday evening before Easter. I’ll remember that one Man invited us all to “come eat with me”. To laugh and reminisce and share together. A human time for the Man whose divinity led him to a horrible death.
Over the span of time and eternity, He still calls us to come eat with him. Will you answer the call ?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]