Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Comment: This annual feast commemorated the lamb slain and its blood smeared on the door lintel and posts of the Israelites’ homes the night before God delivered them from slavery under the Egyptians using Moses as the Leader of His people. Their worship centred around God being the Creator and this event of deliverance and ‘salvation’ from slavery.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Comment: On this night of salvation memory (remembering their rescue from slavery in Egypt), Jesus established another feast which was to commemorate an extension of the Passover.
- As they, in Egypt, slayed a lamb, Jesus , the Lamb of God was about to be slain.
- The lamb was eaten, in this new ceremonial feast His followers ate bread which Jesus said represented His body.
- As the blood was painted on the doors in Egypt they were to drink a little wine to remember His shed blood, smeared on the Cross, as His bleeding head and hands and feet touched the wooden cross.
- It was to be done in the future in memory of Him.
But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Comment: We’re looking at a long group of passages today. But then it was a very busy day as Jesus is led to trial. Even after this discourse they are going out into the garden to pray and Jesus is to be captured by His enemies. Jesus indicates a betrayer, the disciples question which of them would betray Him. (And we know from the other gospel records that He named Judas Iscariot.) They seem to forget their Master’s coming suffering and desire to seek the best positions in the coming Kingdom for themselves. Jesus makes a point – which is greater to sit at the table or to serve? Besides He warns Peter, that in spite of all his claims to go anywhere/do anything in his service of Jesus, he will fail and deny his Master.
And there is still more to come!
Prayer: Please help me to get my mind around it all, and commit myself appropriately.