CHAPTER2Preparationof the Passover meal ( Matthew 26 : 17-19 ; Mark 14 :12-16 and Luke 22 : 7-13 ):The time to prepare to celebrate the Passover mealarrived and in Luke 22: 10-12 we find Jesus instructing His disciples toprepare for the Passover meal which would become known throughout the christianchurches as The Last Supper (the reason being that it was to be the last meal that Jesus was to have with Hisdisciples before His death on the cross ) : ” As you enter the city, a man carrying ajar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say tothe 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 cityand to their surprise found everything just as Jesus had predicted and startedpreparations for the Passover meal. This meal is to this day commemmorated inchristian churches as a reminder that Jesus died, paying the price in our placefor our sins, on the cross. It also reminds us that Jesus was raised to life byGod on the third day after He had died and ascended into heaven where He is seatedat God’s right hand where He intercedes for us before God our almighty Fatherin heaven.
Jesuswashes 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 Himto 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 taskwas even considered by Jewish slaves to be beneath them and was usuallyperformed by Gentile slaves. In the time of Jesus, travellers in Palestine woresandals which caused their feet becoming dirty while travelling on the dirtroads of Palestine. Therefore when guests arrived at the house of their hostfor a meal a slave would be ready to wash their feet before the meal.The disciples were, to say the least, astonished whenJesus , their Teacher and Lord, performed this menial task that was reservedfor Gentile slaves.
By washing the feetof His disciples Jesus demonstrated humility and servanthood, two attributesthat is a neccessity for every follower of Jesus Christ. Without these twoattributes Christians cannot serve Jesus effectively. Jesus, our eternal Kingand 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 setby being prepared to help and support oneanother with an attitude of humbleness and love. During the washing of the feet of His disciples there wasan incident involving Jesus and Peter. When it was the turn of Peter’s feet tobe washed Peter refused to let Jesus wash His feet.
In answer to this refusalJesus 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 ofPeter’s desire to have a close relationsip with Jesus and being fully devotedto Him.This act of Jesus can be seen as symbolic of us being cleansed fromourl sin and unrighteousness by the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, whichHe shed on the cross as an atonement for our sins. What remains for you and meis to embrace Jesus’ sacrifice of His life on the cross so that we can receiveforgiveness 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 cometo Him just as you are in your brokennes, to cleanse you from allunrighteousness and in return to make you whole and give you a new andeverlasting life in Him. Allow Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit , tomake you a new creation in Him, filling you with the presence of His HolySpirit. This Holy Spirit will empower you to start your new life as a powerfulambassador for Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour of the world.There is no greatergift in the world than this than this gift of salvation which Jesus offers toall those who choose to follow Him..The LastSupper ( 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 Suppertook place when they were about to partake of the Passover meal and can befound in Luke 22 : 14 ” When the hour came Jesus and His disciples reclined atthe table. And He said to them, ” I have eagerly desired to eat this Passoverwith you before I suffer.
” Here Jesus revealed the fact that He knew He wasabout to endure suffering. Being man and God Jesus knew exactly what kind ofsuffering He was about to endure and the excruciating death on the cross He wasabout to face. Jesus was about to experience tremendous and horrifying physicalsuffering and death but I believe that what troubled Jesus the most was thespiritual agony He would have to face at that moment on the cross when He wouldtake the sins of the world upon Himself. That was the moment that He knew HisFather in heaven would turn away from Him because God the Father in His verynature, being holy, cannot look upon or tolerate sin. Because, on the crossthere would come a point that Jesus would take all the sins of the world uponHim and while He was bearing all thesins of the world God had to turn away from His only Son, Jesus, while He wascovered by the sins of the world.
We need to examine how the Passover meal and Jesus’ deathon the cross relates to one another. The Passover was celebrated tocommemmorate Israel’s release from oppression and slavery in Egypt. Godcommanded the Israelites on the eve of their release from slavery in Egypt topaint the blood of a lamb without blemish on their doorframes to save theirfirstborn 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 paintedon the doorframes of the houses of the Israelites their firstborn were sparedthis fate. Just as the Passover is a celebration of Irael’s deliverance fromoppression and slavery from Egypt, so is the celebration of the Last Supper forChristians a celebration of their deliverance from the oppression of theslavery of sin through the precious blood that Jesus shed on the cross.
Hebecame for us the Lamb without blemish because in Him there was no sin.By theblood of Jesus we will be made rigtheous in the sight of God. Secondly I want to look at the symbolic signifigance ofthe bread and the wine in the celebration of the Last Supper. When Jesus brokethe bread and gave it to His disciples He said” Take and eat, this is My bodybroken for you.Do this in remembrance of Me.” ( Luke 22 : 20 ) After supperJesus took the cup and said” This is My blood of the covenant, which is pouredout for many for the forgiveness of sins.” ( Matthew 26 : 28 ). At the celebrationof 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 shedHis precious blood to gain for us forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternallife.Therefore the celebration of the holy Eucharist ( the Great Thanksgiving or Holy Communion ) becomes vitally importantin the life of the church. Likewise it is of vital importance for believers toparticipate in this celebration because in participating believers give thanksfor and remember what Jesus did on the cross for them ; bringing them salvationby giving His life on the cross as an atonement, once and for all, for oursins.Furthermore by participating in the celebration of the Eucharist believersalso renew their commitment to serve Jesus.
The celebration of the Eucharist isalso 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 habitbecause then it will lose its signifigance for us. For all these reasons itbecomes quite evident that the celebration of the holy Eucharist is acelebration of vital importance in the life of the christian church.Lastly in John’s account of the Last Supper it ismentioned that Jesus was troubled in His Spirit because He knew that one of theTwelve was going to betray Him. How sad and deeply hurt Jesus must have felt toknow that one of the group that He called and that was with Him throughout Hisministry on earth was going to betray Him for money.
How tragic that the religiousleaders 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 thefollowing 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 ifhe had not been born!” ( Matthew 26 : 24 and Mark 14 : 21 ). What a terriblefate for Judas Iscariot.
Later when Judas felt remorse over his betrayal ofJesus he tried to return the money to the chief priests. When they refused totake back the money Judas threw down the money, left and hanged himself.