Reading: Matt. 26:17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-62 and John 13:1-38
A lot happened on this day. The day started with the disciples asking
Jesus where they would eat the Passover meal. Jesus sends them ahead with specific instructions who to talk to and where to go. They follow his instructions and they are led to an upper room of a house and there they prepare the Passover meal. Again can you imagine all of the emotions of Jesus as they sit down for this meal? This meal that is so symbolic to them. Most of us know that the Jews observed this Passover to symbolize when they marked their door posts with the blood of the lamb so that the Lord would spare their first born from death on the eve of the Exodus from Egypt. This was a very important ritual to them and it held many symbols of their faith.
They had sacrificed a lamb without blemish to enjoy at their meal with each other. Yet Jesus knows that He is about to be the sacrificial lamb for the world. Can you imagine sitting and eating with the one you knew was about to betray you? Jesus even washed the feet of the very person He knew was about to betray Him. (John 13:2-5,12-14)
He has this meal with His closest friends. The chosen twelve. He washed their feet and He foretold His death. They broke the bread and He told them “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk 22:19) He took the cup of wine and said “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Lk 22:20). Then after the meal they sang praises and they set out to the Mount of Olives so that Jesus could pray.
Jesus was in anguish while praying. He asked the Father to take this cup from Him if possible. God didn’t take the cup from Him but He did send Him an angel to strengthen Him. (Lk 22:43). And then He was betrayed. The soldiers came. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss no doubt. And then one of the last recordings of Jesus words on this Thursday is “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. ”Matthew 26:56 ESV.
Jesus understood what was happening but His disciples did not. What started out as a good day was ending very dark and confusing to them. They began the day pledging their allegiance to Him and ended it by them fleeing Him probably in fear for their own lives as well as confusion about who Jesus said He was and how this was unfolding. Even though Jesus had given them glimpses of what was going to happen they couldn’t understand this. This was not how they envisioned it. This was not how they would have done it. The one they have followed and loved and believed was being handed over to be put on trial and the sentence was going to be crucifixion. I wonder when they realized that was going to happen. Was it when He was arrested? Or did the news come to them little by little. When Pilate asked the crowd didn’t they want Jesus to be released instead of Barabbus, were the disciples standing there dumbfounded that the crowd, that had just days earlier been waving palm branches were now yelling “Crucify Him”? When that rooster crowed and Jesus turned and looked at Simon and Simon came face to face with his own failure and disappointment in himself, did they think it was all over? I wonder.