Exodus 12:1–4, 5–10, 11–14; Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; John 13:1–17, 31b–35
The tie between Passover and the Last Supper is obvious just based on the fact that the Last Supper was in the context of Passover. Part of the first Passover was the blood of the Lamb that was placed upon doorjambs in obedience to God so that the plague of the death of the firstborn male would Passover the Jewish people. The sacrifice for the firstborn remained part of the Law, insofar as a blood sacrifice being needed to atone for the firstborn son.
The road that ends on the cross tomorrow is the sacrifice of the firstborn of God, God’s only Son.
Just as it appears that the nation of Egypt was in the place of the sacrifice of the firstborn (many outweighing the few), so too was God (the infinite) in the place of his Creation (us).
Maundy Thursday (as this day is called) is, for me, the second hardest day of the Christian Year. Meals are special. Especially as my kids are at the point of being so busy working and with activities and at school, meals together are even more special. For Jesus, this special meal may well have been the most important of his life. I cannot imagine having this high holy day overshadowed by betrayal, torture, and death. Then knowing that all but one would run away.
Jesus still embraced the pain of that meal. Oddly, I think there was joy, too. Despite the human failings of the 11 that would remain, there is something comforting being with people that you care for deeply, especially when confronting the darkness head-on. The 11 would carry-on the mission that you and I have inherited.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that they were inheritors, too. The Last Supper was really the first supper. Just as I treasure the time around the table with my family, we should all treasure our time around the table of Communion (the Eucharist). This is the place where the boundaries of time and space are thinned that all of the people of the Body of Christ can be joined together in this fateful and binding meal of love.
- What does Communion (the Eucharist) mean to you? If you missed it, would it bother you? Would you go without it? Why?
- What is your favorite meal experience? A restaurant? Thanksgiving? New Year’s? St. Patrick’s Day? Are any of these traditions for you and/or your family? Why?
Almighty Father, whose most dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it in thankful remembrance of Jesus Christ our Savior, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [Maundy Thursday Collect, Book of Common Prayer 2019]
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)