We are in the middle of Holy Week, the last week of our Lenten journey. Tomorrow many of us will be commemorating the Holy Meal that has transformed the world. It was and is truly a meal like no other.
None of the Gospels share whether this was the first or third Passover Jesus and the disciples had together. This might’ve been the first time they gathered in the Holy City to remember God’s salvific acts for the descendants of Abraham. Jesus did make some arrangements for what was to be His last meal with the disciples.
I have been able to participate in several Seder dinners. Each begins with the Four Questions that invite the host(s) to tell the Exodus story. I wonder, on that night, who asked the questions. Was it the youngest disciple or the one whom Jesus loved or even Peter or Judas Iscariot?
Was Jesus the Seder leader that night, or did each disciple participate in recounting the Exodus story? Did Jesus break each loaf of unleavened bread and lift up the cups to be blessed or did He only break the final loaf and lift up the Cup of Blessing? On that particular night, the Exodus story of salvation took on new meaning for those gathered in the upper room and for us who celebrate this Holy meal each time we take Communion.
The narrative in each of the Gospels shares some of the momentous events of that night. Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, telling them that this was the only way they would have a place with Him. He spoke of one who would betray Him, but did not name which disciple it was. He tried to prepare all of them for what was to occur, but during the meal, His words did not sink in. All too soon, the dinner ended.
The rest of that night was the most difficult for our Savior. He knew that he would be betrayed. He knew which cup would be offered to Him. He told Peter that he would deny ever knowing Him. One by one, they fell away. Jesus had to walk a lonesome valley that night, a valley that led Him to the cross.
We all know that Easter Sunday is coming. We will gather to celebrate the miracle of the empty tomb. But first, we must walk the path that Jesus did. Moses delivered a people enslaved in a foreign land. Jesus came to deliver us from slavery to sin, offering us God’s grace, love and forgiveness each time we share the bread and the cup. As we look towards Easter morning, may we continue to be blessed as the children of the living God. And Amen.