The Last Supper - Palm Sunday, Mark 14:12-26
Today is Palm Sunday, the very first day in Holy Week, and we are continuing in Mark chapter 14. It is time to eat the Passover meal, and remember the day when God brought the people out of Egypt and safely through the waters of the Red Sea. Jesus is going to eat with his friends. He is trying to prepare them because soon he is going to pass through the waters of death.
Passover is a feast that tells a story. Each of the foods reminds people of how God rescued them from Egypt and brought them safely through the waters of the Red Sea. People eat lamb, to remember the lambs that were killed and the blood that they put on the doorposts, as the Angel of Death passed through Egypt. They eat bread without any leaven, or yeast, because it had to be baked quickly for the escape. I wonder what Jesus' friends were thinking about as they prepared these special foods to share with him? I wonder if they were hoping he would do new and mighty miracles on this Passover, like Moses did long ago?
Jesus and his friends met in an upstairs room, out of sight and hidden away, to share this Passover meal. They knew that Jesus had enemies in the city who were looking for him. I wonder what the atmosphere in that room, during that meal was like?
Jesus and these twelve friends have been together for a long time now. They have traveled together, talked and prayed together; they have watched Jesus heal the sick, preach to crowds, and cast out evil spirits . Now they are tucked away together in a dangerous city. Can I imagine sitting at the table with Jesus, after all this time, and hearing him say that one of us is going to hand him over to his enemies? How does that make me feel?
In this time, people didn't use forks and knives. They used their bread like a utensil, and dipped it into a bowl. As the dish was passed around the table, each disciple was using some bread to scoop out food. Can I imagine how each of them looked and felt when Jesus said, "It is the one who dips bread into the bowl with me?"
Jesus uses this Passover meal to tell a new story. His body is going to be broken like the bread, and his blood will be poured out like the wine. I wonder how his death is a new kind of Passover?
Long ago, Moses gave God's people the Passover meal, and then he parted the Red Sea waters and led them through into freedom. I wonder how Jesus is like Moses? What is Jesus going to pass through, like the Red Sea, later this week? And will he be able to lead us safely through, too?
We still celebrate this meal today, and say the words that Jesus said. Can I look forward, right now, to the day when we will eat bread and drink wine with Jesus in his kingdom?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.