Jesus Turns Passover Inside Out
Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration and in the process gave this vital Jewish tradition a fresh, new meaning that would bring all who believe under the tent of faith. During his message on Sunday, guest speaker Dan Roseman shared some important and insightful observations from Jesus’ last supper with His disciples before His crucifixion. This meal is covered in all four gospels, so it is a pivotal event in Jesus’ life and in the life of Christ-followers.
Passover was the annual celebration of God’s “rescue plan” for the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians where they had been held captive and enslaved for generations before God caused, through a series of “plagues,” Pharaoh to let His people go. Through Jesus, the ultimate sacrificial lamb, God was about to rescue all mankind from the captivity of sin and its penalty of death.
Five Observations from Jesus’ Last Supper
1) Jesus Prioritized the Passover. (Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:15-16). Luke tells us that Jesus eagerly anticipated sharing this meal with His disciples. He planned for it and made arrangements for it. No doubt He would use that opportunity to add new richness to this traditional meal. He was going to take a meal that already held a lot of significance for God’s people and turn it upside down, with even more powerful and meaningful imagery.
2) Jesus Served his Friends. (John 13:2-9). During the meal, John tells us that Jesus actually washed the feet of His disciples. Now, this would have been a common practice in that time, but it was normally done when folks arrived and always by a person who was in a position of service for menial tasks. Yet Jesus chooses to wash His disciple’s feet Himself, in the middle of the meal! That would have been unheard of in that time. No doubt Jesus was modeling servant leadership and the importance of serving one another without regard to position or hierarchy. What an incredible model for us!
3) Jesus Predicted his Betrayal. (Mark 14:17-21). Jesus made sure that everyone at that table knew that one of them would betray Him; but it could be any of them because they were all sharing this communal meal together, each dipping their hands in the bowl. But was Jesus really giving Judas a last opportunity to repent? Some think that was possible, and maybe it was. But clearly Judas wasn’t going to change his mind. I wonder if, when we’re given the chance to repent, we will take the opportunity?
4) Jesus Changed the Lyrics. (Mark 14:22-25). For hundreds of years, the Passover meal always included symbolic courses including bread, wine and lamb. During the meal, the host always recited a very significant phrase - “This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.” But Jesus didn’t say that; He called the bread His body and the wine His blood. Jesus was bringing brand new meaning to an age-old tradition. Jesus had come to bring redemption for God’s people (Exodus 6:6).
5) Jesus is the Lamb. Lamb was a crucial part of the Passover meal, but none of the gospel authors mention it. It is not a part of the conversation at the table that night. Why? The reason that the lamb wasn’t mentioned is because the lamb wasn’t on the table, the lamb was at the table. The lamb at this table had come to take away the sins of the world! Jesus’ disciples didn’t know it yet, though Jesus had told them many times, but soon they would.
When we really take a close look at Jesus’ Passover meal with His disciples, there is no doubt that there are powerful, life-changing truths there for all who believe! Of course, this meal would become The Lord’s Supper for Christ-followers. On Sunday, we had a chance to celebrate that meal together. We will share it again during our noon service on Good Friday.
If you missed the service on Sunday, click here to watch it, including Dan’s message. The Week That Changed the World - Part 4 - The Last Supper.