Tonight is Holy, or Maundy, Thursday, the night where Christians celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. Last night in small group, we discussed this passage and I had some thoughts about the significance of Passover for Jesus. I don’t think anything I’m saying is terribly groundbreaking, and in fact I’m sure it’s been said elsewhere, but I just feel like it finally means something to me.
For the Jews, Passover was a symbol of God’s deliverance of the people from evil. The angel of death was sent to kill the firstborn of every house in Egypt, and the Israelites prevented this from happening by wiping lamb’s blood over their doors. Luke tells us that Jesus “eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” My question was “Why?” What is so important about Passover for Jesus that he really wants to celebrate it with his disciples? I asked this question without having another verse in front of me, which occurs prior to this one. Luke 22:7 says this, “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” I was so excited to realize that Passover and Jesus are so closely connected. Jesus is the firstborn! Death comes and the firstborn must die-Jesus does and therefore we don’t have to! He becomes the lamb to be sacrificed, to be poured out over us (and for many…) for the forgiveness of sins (and in other words, the redemption from death!).
But all of this served to teach me a lesson about Jesus and the crucifixion. I’ve been feeling really lonely and distant from my campus and my fellowship, and even from God recently. Luke 22 goes on to tell how when Jesus tells his disciples that someone will betray him, all they can do is bicker about who’s the best and who’s the worst. Can you imagine pouring out your heart that someone you love is about to hurt you in the worst way, and all your friends can do is compare themselves to each other? It must have made him feel so lonely. And then they all deserted him. I think I’ve forgotten that part. I think the physical pain would have been almost bearable if it weren’t for that fact that everyone that ever loved Jesus ditched him at the last minute. Jesus has been through it worse than me. I can’t imagine that any human was ever able to really care for Jesus and I wonder if it was hard for him to be constantly caring for his disciples but never receive care from them. But I bet he was better at letting God do that that I am.