Holy Week - Thursday
The Lord’s Supper
Matthew 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-20, John 13:1-38
Jesus gathers together with His disciples to celebrate the Passover Feast with them. This would have happened after sundown on Thursday evening. Because most of us don’t celebrate the Passover Feast we miss so much of the symbolism that points to Jesus as the perfect Passover sacrifice and Savior from God’s judgment.
Remember, the Passover feast was designed by God to commemorate how He saved His people from the plagues that God used to free His people from the oppression of Egypt. There is a clear symbolic connection between the plagues of Egypt and the judgements coming in the book of Revelation. The blood of the lamb saved His people from death during the exodus and the Blood of the Lamb will save His people from death at the end of time.
Here are some points from the Passover Feast and Event for us to ponder this Easter season:
Jesus entered Jerusalem on “selection day,” the day the Passover lamb was chosen. This was the lamb that was to be sacrificed five days later. This was the day Christ died. The Passover lamb was to be male without defect. When it was roasted and eaten none of its bones were to be broken. This lamb symbolically represented the sins of the people of Israel.
The Passover lamb was sacrificed at 3PM. The priests would blow the Shophar (Ram’s horn) the moment the lamb was killed. All of Israel would pause and contemplate the sacrifice for the sins of all of Israel. This is the exact day and time Christ said, “It is finished.” Anyone hearing His words would have also heard the mournful sound of the ram’s horn and would have paused to contemplate the sacrifice that was being made for the sins of Israel.
During the actual meal three matzahs are put together (representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Then the middle matzah is broken, wrapped in a white cloth, and hidden. This so clearly represents the death and burial of Jesus Christ. The matzah itself points to Christ as it is striped and pierced, as prophesized by Isaiah, David, and Zechariah. After the Seder meal, the “buried matzah” is resurrected – which was foretold in the prophecies of David.
It may very well be this center matzah was the one that Christ broke and presented to the disciples as they gathered together in the Upper Room. The bread that we break each time we take communion together represents this center matzah that Christ broke with His disciples.
Then Christ reached for the wine. This would have been the third cup of the Seder – the cup of redemption. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
During the dinner a dispute grew up among them regarding who was the greatest among them. Jesus responded by teaching and demonstrating servant-leadership principles by washing the feet of the disciples.
Jesus also predicted Judas’ betrayal as well as Peter’s betrayal and eventual return: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you turn back, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus also told them they were going to have to struggle in ministry and would have perilous times.
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
This is my favorite section of Scripture! In this passage we have:
Jesus Comforting His disciples
Jesus saying that He is the way to the Father
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
He teaches that the world will hate us
He explains the working of the Holy Spirit
He promises that our grief will turn to joy
Jesus prays for Himself
Jesus prays for His Disciples
Jesus prays for all Believers (that’s you and me!)
I think there is enough in this passage to know Christ, understand His heart, and join Him in the work of building His Kingdom.
It’s not clear if this discourse was given in the upper room or in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the Garden of Gethsemane
Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-46
Jesus prepares for His crucifixion by turning to prayer. Sadly, although asking His disciples to join Him in prayer twice, they struggled to stand with Him in prayer.
Judas leads the guards of the High Priest to His location and Christ is arrested.
James E. Bogoniewski, Jr.