“I Have Earnestly Desired To Eat This Passover With You”

This article is part 4 of 4 in the series Lord's Supper

The shadow of the cross had been looming over the Lord for some time now. He knew what happened to those who were crucified, everybody knew. From time to time, crosses had been erected and the victims could easily be seen. It was a warning as well as a punishment. It was a cruel way, perhaps the most cruel way to die.

To be beaten or flogged was bad enough, and often ended in death. The tool used was called a “cat of nine tails,” of leather straps with bits of metal embedded. To receive 40 lashes with this, had to be unbearable. “The Passion of the Christ,” was almost too much to watch, as they portrayed the Lord being tied to a post in the middle of a court yard, and beaten while those who administered the whipping, seemed to enjoy the whole process. I wanted to stand and shout, “Stop it!” “He has done nothing worthy of this!” “All He has done is good, so why not grab those Pharisees and beat them?”

It would not have done any good, even if I were there. Those who wanted his blood, would stop at nothing until they got what they wanted. They wanted Him dead. They wanted this ‘trouble maker,’ gone! They had been challenged, embarrassed, preached to enough, and now they cried for His death.

People cried, people jeered – people covered their heads in sorrow, while others looked on with satisfaction. He was on the way to be crucified. “I win, You lose!” Satan thought.

All of this pain, agony, disgrace, and dishonor, Jesus knew was in the “cup” which He had to drink.

But before He drank it, His one desire was to be with those who loved Him, and have a supper. Just one last time, He wanted to look into the eyes of those who cared for Him. One final time He wanted to feel the joy of unity and fellowship, that they had been experiencing for the past three years. One last time…

It was here that He begins a tradition which is above all others, because it is in the very bread they ate, and the very wine they drank, that His body and blood were to be remembered.

Jesus did not hurry though this feast… for it had been planned, and this gathering was especially for this purpose of looking back. Now as we have gathered, let us not think of how fast or efficient, or of the next part of our service, or use the time when others are partaking to write a hasty check, or some such thing… Let us think about our Lord who gave everything that we might have everything.

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The Passover

This article is part 3 of 4 in the series Lord's Supper

Exodus 12:1-13 is the first record, or the institution of the Passover. It is a time of emotions, of fear, wonder and awe. It was to coincide with the last and most terrible of the plagues which the LORD God would bring upon the land of Egypt. It was that night that the God of the Universe would bring death on the land, and all the first born in Egypt would be put to death. Some of the plagues would be only for the unbelieving Egyptians, and others would affect the Hebrew people as well… this is one of those plagues.

The only way the Hebrews would be spared, is if they followed God’s instructions.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs.
8  That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.”
To the last detail, the Passover instructions are given. It was a matter of life or death.
Here is how they were to eat the Passover. “This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.”

We seem to have mastered the last part of this, as the Lord’s Supper is often given a few minutes to be completed.

To think back and wonder how they must have felt and to know that the only thing that kept them safe… was a sprinkling of blood on the two door posts and lintel, must have been scary as they heard what seemed to be the whole land of Egypt erupting in cries and groans over the loss of their first born children.

It was a night to be forever remembered, and celebrated, as this was the straw that ‘broke the stubborn camel’s back.’ Pharaoh could not stand it any longer. He told Moses to get the Hebrew people out!!!

Jesus told his disciples to prepare the Passover meal. It was no small task, and must have been a good meal. Feasting was not the real purpose, REMEMBERING was the reason for the season. Impressing others with the food, the way they dressed, the fancy plates and glasses was not even in the picture. The simple feast was a remembrance of a special time in their history when by God’s grace, they were spared.

Jesus had called them three years before, and since then they had witnessed his miracles, teachings, confrontations. They had been taught from His eternal mind, all that the Father wanted them to know. They had seen Jesus reach across racial barriers, traditional barriers, class barriers, male/female barriers to reach and teach the lost. He had caused them to wonder as He walked on water, raised the dead, fed thousands with only a few fish and loaves of bread. Now He has but one more thing to do… DIE.
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” He said.

This Passover was special! More than the others. Not only was it a Jubilee, it was the Jubilee of Jubilees. Leviticus 25:8-13 states: “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.”

This was truly a special celebration… but it was more special because it was the establishment of the Lord’s Supper. Luke recorded it for us in chapter 22 and beginning with verse 16, “For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

The bread represented His body, the juice represented His blood. Not to be rushed through, not a time to show off or think about anything else, for nothing else is as important as this: HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME!
I truly was so lost I should have died, but He did it for me! Praise God! “Worthy is the Lamb,” who is now our Passover Lamb as well.

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The Cup

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series Lord's Supper

We recently went on a trip to New York City, and like any other tourist, we visited as many sites as we could and walked what seemed to be miles and enjoyed the subway and buses. It was amazing to see the “Freedom Tower” and humbling to visit the 911 Memorial. We visited the shops of course and got souvenir hats, “I Love New York” t-shirts, and of course CUPS. I mean who can pass up having an authentic, China made, New York coffee cup?!
Now I am not one to collect cups, because a cup is a cup… and yet not all cups are the same. I have a cup which was dad’s and has “Jack” on it. I doubt it is a collector’s item, and would probably sell for 10 cents in a yard sale, but to me… I would not trade it for 10 ‘authentic’ New York City souvenir cups! That’s because it is a reminder of dad. He drank from it. The coffee doesn’t taste better because of the cup. It is just a cup, made like any other cup.
Jesus “… took a CUP and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” It was just a cup right? The contents tasted no better because of the cup. Where is the cup? If we could ever find it what would we do with it? Would it be special to us? Of course! Would we trade it for an ‘authentic’ New York City cup? Hardly! How much would it sell for? Why, it would be priceless! Why? It’s JUST A CUP!
Of course it is what Jesus held in his un-nailed hands. It’s the cup that He prayed over after the fruit of the vine was poured into it. It’s the cup that He drank from and passed to the disciples and told them, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins… I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you  in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:27-29).
Is it the cup or the contents or what it all represents? Should we worship the cup or the Savior? Should we make a ‘law’ that only one cup can be used? Shall we argue on whether or not the juice was fermented?  If so, then we miss the blessing of the meaning.
The “cup” is used to ‘hold’ different things in the Scriptures…but in this case, it held suffering, shame, pain, and death…“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this CUP be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” This was the real CUP… So Paul instructs Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:26  “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” When we drink of the cup, we should examine ourselves and be so grateful that He drank of it FIRST! (I Corinthians 11:28). More than a CUP, more than GRAPE JUICE.

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The Bread

This article is part 1 of 4 in the series Lord's Supper

Many centuries ago, a story was told of a man who rented an apartment above the only bakery in town. He would rise early from bed, do the things that prepared him for that day and then go to the front window and just sit, enjoying the beauty and fragrance of fresh baking bread.
The owner of the building saw him sitting there one day, smiling and enjoying the added blessing the aroma the fresh bread offered. He felt that this added pleasure and benefit would justify him raising the rent. The renter objected and the whole affair was taken to court.
The Judge, a wise old man, listened and recorded his notes as each man presented his case. He ordered the owner of the apartment to bring 10 golden coins and both were remanded to return the following day. News spread rapidly and the next morning there was a goodly crowd in the gallery.
The Judge appeared in his robes and when seated ask for the golden coins. The defendant produced them and set them before the judge. He took the coins and little by little let them fall from one hand to the other. Then he rendered his judgment. The price should remain the same for the flat.
The owner objected and demanded an explanation. “How could the falling coins pay for him sitting in the window and smelling the sweet smell of baking bread?”
The Judge smiled and said, “The tinkle of falling coins pays for the smell of baking bread!!”
It’s funny how certain ‘smells’ can bring back memories. Maybe it’s the smell of homemade apple pie that reminds you of a time when you and your mother baked a pie together.
Not all smells bring back good memories. Sometimes they bring back bad memories of a time of abuse or pain or depression.
“It was just before the Passover Feast” and Unleavened bread was being sold in the open markets of Jerusalem. Unleavened bread is made of flour (which contains no rising agents),
crushed coriander seeds (also called “cilantro”), salt, fine cooking oil and water. The smell must have been wonderful. Memories must have come to the mind of the Master of times when his mother baked fresh bread. Now as he gathers with his disciples for this supper. The memories and the memorial all mix together. For every Jew, the memories were rich, the memorial Passover was priceless. Reminding them of a time when the God of Heaven and earth delivered their fore-fathers from the slavery of Egypt so many centuries before.
It was this bread that Jesus first blessed, then broke into pieces and handed to his disciples. Yet there was a ‘bitterness’ to this memorial supper, since someone at the table was going to betray Him. “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot…” Satan made his move, entering the heart of Judas, and Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:21-30).
The rest is history. Paul reminds us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US” (Romans 5:8). For Christians, it continues to be a precious reminder of the one who freed us from the slavery of sin.

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