The Passover commemorates Israel’s escape from bondage into Egypt, where Moses instructed that the blood of the lamb be painted over the door frames so that the plague of the first born would pass over their homes, sparing the firstborn sons from death. The Last supper was done on the same night that the Jewish would commemorate their escape, yet as Jesus brought his disciples together for the last time before his death, Jesus shared with them how their Escape from Egypt was now signified with man-kinds escape from a deserving, sinful death. Jesus, the Son of God, would now be representative of that lamb, allowing His body to be broken and his blood to be poured out on our behalf.
During the last supper, where Jesus took the time to share and instruct His disciples as to what they could expect for the next few days, he also shared with them, that one of them would betray him. Judas had already done the deed, yet in Jesus’ presence, denied that he would be the one to do this act of betrayal. Jesus, being the Son of God, already knew what Judas had done. In the same way, God already knows our hearts as well as the sin we perform daily.
It was apparent that Judas had no “real forethought” of what his actions would do. As Jesus was brought before the courts Judas tried to reverse his actions. As with Judas, what we do and say in life will leave a permanent scar for others to see as well as for ourselves to bear. Our words and actions speak clearly of our hearts and whether we have a humble spirit. We can sometimes reverse the damage, but it takes time for people to see the change of heart, because a deceitful heart is hard to trust.
We then have the words where Jesus shares that one of his disciples will deny Him. Peter, confident that he would never betray his love for Christ, is told that before the Rooster crows three times, he will deny his love and friendship. Peter, who loved Jesus greatly, could not even imagine himself doing this, yet when he heard the Rooster crow, he was humbled with a heart that sorely wept of his denial for the man whom he greatly loved and admired.
Both examples make a vivid point of what our actions towards others and gossip is all about. How many will say something about someone, agree with a group of people “just to be cool”, just to belong or out of fear? How many will speak up for the person who is unable to defend themselves? Then, when you think your innocent action will have no effect on them, you soon realize that you could have made a difference. Your fear of being confident of truth turns what you thought to be an innocent situation, into something that can no longer be reversed. What we say and do, can and will most often affect another person. In some cases it can result in one losing friends, losing a job, or losing respect within a community. And if we are not careful, the result can back-fire and affect us personally.
As I read in Matthew 26:26-35, Mark 14: 1-42 and Luke 22:1-46, I see so much of what happened, as it relates to what is happening in our own lives today. Whether we go to church, pray at home, live our lives freely, we do so with a free will spirit. Just because I claim to be a Christian, it is more than that claim that makes me His child. It requires a humble spirit, a desire to acknowledge when I am wrong, seek forgiveness and start over again. The longer I walk with Christ, the better I get. But, as with the example of Peter, it only takes a moment for us to slip and then realize our wrong doing. We can’t erase what we do or say, but we can certainly work towards purifying our hearts towards being acceptable when the time is right for when we are to meet Jesus at the gate of Heaven.
Today our culture fights with equal rights, and has been for years. First it was the Jews, and as we moved towards modern times, it was civil rights of blacks vs. whites, to straight vs. gay. I wonder how often God cries, seeing the people He created, fighting over frivolous causes. Yes, scripture says a marriage is to be between one man and one woman, but scripture also shares that we have free will. It also shares that we are not to commit adultery (how many Christians do this?), not to murder, not to steal, etc. Yet his greatest commandment is to Love God with all our hearts and with our minds, and second to this is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Wow!!
What exactly does this mean? For me, although the scripture speaks volumes of how we are to worship, how we are to behave, Jesus makes it quite clear of what is most important. Our love for God is to be our priority. In the manner in which we treat others, condemn them for what they do, is a reflection of who we are. When we speak poorly of others, we should face ourselves in the mirror to see if we honestly love God with the words we say. When we condemn others for their choices (remember, God gives us free will, not the freedom to be self-righteous) we need to reflect on our own sin to be sure we have been reconciled through His blood. Ultimately, we are to accept others for who they are, for in doing this, we are treating them the way we would want to be treated if we were walking in their sandals. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus loved her greatly. He hated the sin, but not the woman who did the sin. We should be more like Christ. He didn’t say it would be easy, but rather that it was commandment as a Christ follower.
I’m not sure everyone will understand what I am sharing, but when I say that these are frivolous issues, it is because what is clearly apparent, is that whether Christian or not, hate is running rampant among all of God’s people. How can we possibly be examples of His will, claim we are Christian, if all we know how to do is condemn those who don’t see scripture the same way as we do? And in reality, do we really understand Gods desire is that our own hearts be pure so that we can be an example of truth within our own lives?
The Last Supper shares how Jesus predicts how he will suffer on our behalf for the sake of our eternal place in Heaven. Jesus shares how His broken body and shed blood, as He is sacrificed on the cross, is to be remembered as we share in communion the cup of wine (his blood) and the broken loaf of bread (his body). “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‘” (Luke 22:19).
Jesus’ final instruction was an extremely important principle for Christian living, where we are to serve others, and not expect to be served (Luke 22:26). In a method to show this type of service, Jesus shares through example, this act of service through the washing of his disciples’ feet (Luke 13:5-20). It was a humbling act, but what Jesus shared was that a master is no better than the servant. When we are unable to treat those who are under our authority with love and respect, then how can we expect the same in return? Jesus set an example, that His love was a great as God’s, and with that act, He was willing to share with us His servant spirit of washing the dirt from where we have traveled.
So who really is the one who denies Christ, the one who betrays? Could it be me? Could it be you? Or, do we each need to seek His grace, His love, and His compassion, so that we can be freely forgiven?
For me, I am thankful for the cross and humbled by His sacrifice.