We are at the beginning of the end of Jesus ministry on earth. It is the turning point of history and of the relationship between God and Man, and a fulfillment, of sorts, of Simeon’s prayer of praise in the temple so long ago.
There is so much here—what makes for greatness, the foretelling of Peter’s denial of the Master, the prayer failure of the disciples on the mount of Olives, Judas’ betrayal of his friend.
The amazing event we are privileged to watch here, and are told to repeat, in remembrance, is known as The Last Supper. It has always amazed me that Jesus told the disciples that he has earnestly desired to eat this Passover with them, “before I suffer.” And he tells them, “I will never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
“This is my body which is given for you! Do this, in remembrance of me.”
This remembrance is not of a dear friend and teacher who has departed after a cruel crucifixion; this is a remembrance of who he is and what he has accomplished, and, surely, a remembrance of what he said he will yet do. Is he thinking, I wonder, about Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed.”
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you.”
It’s a new covenant they will struggle to understand in the days, months and years to come. A covenant taught to them primarily by the Apostle Paul, who would be introduced to them, first, as a murderer, before he became a beloved teacher. A covenant that brought down the walls of separation, making of two, one, by Grace on the Cross and through Faith that receives.
The Magnificent Obsession of the child in the manger is about to be fulfilled. And, on that night, his closest friends still don’t understand.
The scripture that gave him strength on that night and the days following might have been this:
“He shall see the trivial of his soul, and be satisfied: by his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities,” (Isaiah 53:11).