Thursday, April 18, 2019
Preparing Our Hearts For Easter: Will You Remember?
Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23
The story of the final meal Jesus shared with His disciples does not read like a typical farewell meal. One would assume that Jesus would be the guest of honor, and the disciples would give him meaningful farewell comments (at least that becomes the ideal one would consider today). But such was not the case for this meal. Jesus had actually planned the supper completely (Mark 14:12-16), but many of the disciples were not centered on Jesus; instead there was a spirit of selfishness among Jesus’ most intimate followers: Judas arrived at the meal with betrayal in his heart as he prepared to trap Jesus and have him arrested; many of the other disciples were consumed with ambition as they argued among themselves over who would be the greatest (Luke 22:24).
In the midst of such a tumultuous scene, Jesus demonstrated His authority and His control over every aspect of the passion week (His week of suffering) which would culminate in His sacrificial death on the cross. Not once did the events of that final week ever unravel from God’s plan, including the night of the last meal.
There were two accomplishments Jesus made on that night. First, He established the meaning of the new covenant that would forever be canonized into the church as a significant and sacred ordinance. Jesus gave thanks to God at this final meal, and a communion meal (also known as the Eucharist, from the Greek term meaning thanksgiving) has been institutional in the church from the first century to present day. Second, Jesus announced the gospel – the way of salvation for all mankind. The significance of the supper as a Passover meal indicated that Jesus set forth a new Passover deliverance, not from Egypt but from sin. Jesus’ references to His own body announced that He himself would be the sacrifice for the sin of mankind.
From this meal, after the hand of Judas was marked as the betrayer, Jesus went in the dark of night to the Garden of Gethsemane where He would await the arresting party to come and take Him away to His arrest and death. This was indeed a dark night in many expressions of the word: the literal darkness was equaled by the darkness of mankind’s heart of betrayal, which was indicative of the depravity of man’s heart in need of a Savior.
Today, will you take a moment to look quietly upon our Savior’s sacrifice? Will you remember His body delivered and His blood shed? Will you take time to remember how desperately you yourself needed a Savior, and how if not for the crucifixion of Christ salvation of sin would have never come to you? Take this quiet moment to remember the darkness, but also the light that dispels the darkness and brings life and salvation to all who will trust in Jesus. Take a moment to remember. What a great way to prepare for Easter.
(Join the community of faith tonight at King’s Grant Baptist Church for a special Tenebrae Service; this is an opportunity to prepare for Easter by worshipfully reflecting on our Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross.)