bear with me, this might be a little long…but you’ll be fine.
last night in my soma group, we had a really special evening of reflection on what was happening on this day 2000 years ago. larry, our leader, assigned out different scriptures to tell the story of Jesus, from the plot to kill Jesus, leading up to Him praying in the garden. we paused during the reading of the passover (last supper) to take communion together.
i’ll post a second part later, about the trial and crucifying of Christ, for now…here’s the beginning of the easter story.
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough the hour has come.The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
things i/we pondered:
1. the contrast between Jesus being anointed with expensive perfume, and then being sold for thirty pieces of silver.
2. that must have taken a lot of faith to walk in to a strangrer’s house and ask for the upper room for passover. what does it look like for us to hear God and follow even the strangest of commands like this? or…what does it even look or feel like to hear God?
we discussed that perhaps we over-think or over-glorify what it means to be ‘called’ to something. as believers we all have the same calling: to love God and love people. His will for every single one of our lives is to be more like Him. we discussed how even when God gave specific commands to people in the bible…well, we see the whole story…they were experiencing it day by day and “God’s calling” to them, probably didn’t seem the way they thought it should (go read jonah, for example…after he gets vomited out of a fish and finally obeys God, sharing His message with the people of ninevah…he has the sass on, and the blinders way up as to what God should do–).
3. when Jesus told peter he would deny Him, what do you think was going on in peter’s mind? i mean peter was referred to as, ‘the rock.’ but he knows that Jesus hasn’t been wrong about things before…
4. those disciples are so sleepy! they fall asleep every time i read this story. :) but really, do you think they knew what was about to happen? or do you think at this point they still thought Jesus would be saving the world by becoming a political power? do you think their understanding is still so narrow? i would have fallen asleep too. i’m just being honest. long day, big feast…the drinking of wine? forget about it. i’d be out.
i think we all recognize we should be ‘awake’ and ‘alert’ and ‘ready’ in our walk with Jesus. but what’s the deeper meaning of how this applies to our lives?
thanks for reading. this incredibly long post. more to come…and more life to celebrate.