Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat...Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters..."
And so it began, even tonight, it is the Passover, and many sit together and remember and celebrate the night of deliverance from slavery. For Jesus, it ends as it begins, notice the pitcher of water reminds us of the first miracle, the first sign of the wedding of Cana.
Tradition. Even Jesus loved it. Every year since boyhood He had celebrated this night, the Passover. Now, however, He did not sit surrounded by His natural family, but His spiritual family. "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer..."
This final meal was an intimate time, of men who spent the last three years together. They sat around the table, eating, singing familiar songs, saying the customary words. Unlike our worship today: there was no band, no visual media, no seats in rows, no pulpit and sermon. No, Jesus faced them in a circle. He talked but He answered their questions. He touched them. He washed their feet. He poured their wine, blessed their food. He knew them. So different than today. So intimate. More like the family dinner than the worship service. But then that was what the Passover was: teaching and worship with the meal, led by the father, in the setting of family.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."
But then enters the new. Jesus takes the traditional elements of unleveled bread and wine and introduces the new covenant. His Body, His Blood. Do this in remembrance of Me, with thanksgiving: in Greek: eucharisteō. The water jug, the wine. It begins, it ends, it transforms. We give thanks. Eucharisteō.
How did we translate this into a man on a stage with a microphone? To stained glass windows and statues? To tasteless wafer in a golden box? To online services, people having "church" alone in their PJs? To me with my keyboard writing this blog? You desired to eat the passover with Your disciples. You desire community. Later the author of Hebrews (10:25) would write: And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.
Beloved, You remind me not only that You began something new, but the context was very personal, very close, something You cherished. You did not come to stand on a stage with a microphone, while we all sat in rows watching You. You came near, to sit next to us, to hold our hand, to share our meal, to celebrate with us as well as suffer for us. With fervent desire You desire to touch us. One. By one.
Help me to do the same. Help me to be like You.