CHAPTER
2

Preparation
of the Passover meal ( Matthew 26 : 17-19 ; Mark 14 :12-16 and Luke 22 : 7-13 )
:

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The time to prepare to celebrate the Passover meal
arrived and in Luke 22: 10-12 we find Jesus instructing His disciples to
prepare for the Passover meal which would become known throughout the christian
churches as The Last Supper (the reason being that it was to be  the last meal that Jesus was to have with His
disciples before His death on the cross )  : ” As you enter the city, a man carrying a
jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to
the owner of the house, the Teacher asks : 
Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples
? He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
Peter and John then went  into the city
and to their surprise found everything just as Jesus had predicted and started
preparations for the Passover meal. This meal is to this day commemmorated in
christian churches as a reminder that Jesus died, paying the price in our place
for our sins, on the cross. It also reminds us that Jesus was raised to life by
God on the third day after He had died and ascended into heaven where He is seated
at God’s right hand where He intercedes for us before God our almighty Father
in heaven.

Jesus
washes the feet of His disciples ( John 13 : 1-20 ) :

The scene : Jesus with His disciples in the upper room,
reclining at the table, ready to partake of the Passover meal ( the Last Supper
).Now Jesus did something that nobody, least of all His disciples, expected Him
to do. He got up from the table and started to wash the feet of His disciples.
This was certainly not something that the host of a meal would do. This task
was even considered by Jewish slaves to be beneath them and was usually
performed by Gentile slaves. In the time of Jesus, travellers in Palestine wore
sandals which caused their feet becoming dirty while travelling on the dirt
roads of Palestine. Therefore when guests arrived at the house of their host
for a meal a slave would be ready to wash their feet before the meal.

The disciples were, to say the least, astonished when
Jesus , their Teacher and Lord, performed this menial task that was reserved
for Gentile slaves.  By washing the feet
of His disciples Jesus demonstrated humility and servanthood, two attributes
that is a neccessity for every follower of Jesus Christ. Without these two
attributes Christians cannot serve Jesus effectively. Jesus, our eternal King
and Saviour, Himself said : ” I came not to be served, but to serve. ” (
Matthew 20 : 28 ).As Christians we need to follow this example that Jesus set
by being prepared to help and support  one
another with an attitude of humbleness and love.

During the washing of the feet of His disciples there was
an incident involving Jesus and Peter. When it was the turn of Peter’s feet to
be washed Peter refused to let Jesus wash His feet. In answer to this refusal
Jesus said ; ” Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me. ” ( John 13 : 8 ).
Peter’s response was : “Then, Lord, not just 
my feet but my hands and my head as well. ” ( John 13 : 9 ).  This response is a clear indication of
Peter’s desire to have a close relationsip with Jesus and being fully devoted
to Him.

This act of Jesus  can be seen as symbolic of us being cleansed from
ourl sin and unrighteousness by the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, which
He shed on the cross as an atonement for our sins. What remains for you and me
is to embrace Jesus’ sacrifice of His life on the cross so that we can receive
forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour (
John 3 : 16 ). Don’t delay, Jesus is waiting, with open arms, for you to come
to Him just as you are in your brokennes, to cleanse you from all
unrighteousness and in return to make you whole and give you a new and
everlasting life in Him. Allow Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit , to
make you a new creation in Him, filling you with the presence of His Holy
Spirit. This Holy Spirit will empower you to start your new life as a powerful
ambassador for Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour of the world.There is no greater
gift in the world than this than this gift of salvation which Jesus offers to
all those who choose to follow Him..

The Last
Supper  ( Matthew 26 : 20-30 ; Mark 14 :
17-26 ; Luke 22 : 14-30 and John 13 : 21-30 ) :

The first area I want to explore about the Last Supper
took place when they were about to partake of the Passover meal and can be
found in Luke 22 : 14 ” When the hour came Jesus and His disciples reclined at
the table. And He said to them, ” I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover
with you before I suffer.” Here Jesus revealed the fact that He knew He was
about to endure suffering. Being man and God Jesus knew exactly what kind of
suffering He was about to endure and the excruciating death on the cross He was
about to face. Jesus was about to experience tremendous and horrifying physical
suffering and death but I believe that what troubled Jesus the most was the
spiritual agony He would have to face at that moment on the cross when He would
take the sins of the world upon Himself. That was the moment that He knew His
Father in heaven would turn away from Him because God the Father in His very
nature, being holy, cannot look upon or tolerate sin. Because, on the cross
there would come a point that Jesus would take all the sins of the world upon
Him and while He was  bearing all the
sins of the world God had to turn away from His only Son, Jesus, while He was
covered by the sins of the world.

We need to examine how the Passover meal and Jesus’ death
on the cross relates to one another. The Passover was celebrated to
commemmorate Israel’s release from oppression and slavery in Egypt. God
commanded the Israelites on the eve of their release from slavery in Egypt to
paint the blood of a lamb without blemish on their doorframes to save their
firstborn from death. God send an ange to bring death to all the firstborn,
both man and beast, throughout Egypt. Because of the blood of the lamb painted
on the doorframes of the houses of the Israelites their firstborn were spared
this fate. Just as the Passover is a celebration of Irael’s deliverance from
oppression and slavery from Egypt, so is the celebration of the Last Supper for
Christians a celebration of their deliverance from the oppression of the
slavery of sin through the precious blood that Jesus shed on the cross. He
became for us the Lamb without blemish because in Him there was no sin.By the
blood of Jesus we will be made rigtheous in the sight of God.

Secondly I want to look at the symbolic signifigance of
the bread and the wine in the celebration of the Last Supper. When Jesus broke
the bread and gave it to His disciples He said” Take and eat, this is My body
broken for you.Do this in remembrance of Me.” ( Luke 22 : 20 ) After supper
Jesus took the cup and said” This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured
out for many for the forgiveness of  sins.” ( Matthew 26 : 28 ). At the celebration
of the Last Supper the bread and the wine are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus.
The bread and the wine is a symbolic reminder that Jesus gave His life and shed
His precious blood to gain for us forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal
life.Therefore the celebration of the holy Eucharist ( the Great Thanksgiving  or Holy Communion ) becomes vitally important
in the life of the church. Likewise it is of vital importance for believers to
participate in this celebration because in participating believers give thanks
for and remember what Jesus did on the cross for them ; bringing them salvation
by giving His life on the cross as an atonement, once and for all, for our
sins.Furthermore by participating in the celebration of the Eucharist believers
also renew their commitment to serve Jesus. The celebration of the Eucharist is
also a reminder to us of the promise that one day Jesus will return in glory.
Participation in the celebration of the Eucharist must never become habit
because then it will lose its signifigance for us. For all these reasons it
becomes quite evident that the celebration of the holy Eucharist is a
celebration of vital importance in the life of the christian church.

Lastly in John’s account of the Last Supper it is
mentioned that Jesus was troubled in His Spirit because He knew that one of the
Twelve was going to betray Him. How sad and deeply hurt Jesus must have felt to
know that one of the group that He called and that was with Him throughout His
ministry on earth was going to betray Him for money. How tragic that the religious
leaders of the day was prepared to bribe Judas Iscariot to betray the Messiah,
the Son of God, in their eagerness to have Jesus killed. Jesus said the
following about Judas” The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him.
But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if
he had not been born!” ( Matthew 26 : 24 and Mark 14 : 21 ). What a terrible
fate for Judas Iscariot. Later when Judas felt remorse over his betrayal of
Jesus he tried to return the money to the chief priests. When they refused to
take back the money Judas threw down the money, left and hanged himself.

 

 

 

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