It’s interesting how we mark significant moments with significant meals. The Jews had festivals centered on meals. Most of these festivals coincided with the retelling of a part of the story of God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
Supreme among all festivals was Passover. At the time of Passover, Jewish people told the story of how God had liberated them. As part of their visible expression of being freed, they would recline at the table, as if they were relaxing at home without a care in the world.
Celebrating Passover was (and still is) a deeply religious act, and, for the many centuries in which Jews suffered oppression, it was also a deeply political act. The celebration of Passover said, loud and clear, “Despite appearances, we are God’s free people”. It sustained loyalty; it encouraged faith, hope, and love. Except this time around things would be different.
This time Jesus would go as a greater Moses ahead of the twelve disciples, ahead of Israel, and ahead of the world into the presence of a greater slave-master than Pharaoh and into a terror greater than walking through the Red Sea to lead the world to freedom.
This Passover meal would explain more deeply than words could ever say what Jesus’ actions, passion, and the next day really meant. This meal would not only reveal these things, it would also enable Jesus’ followers, both then and now, to make Passover their own and draw life and strength from it.
If we want to understand and be nourished by what happened on Calvary, this meal is the place to start.
Reflect and Pray