“Maundy Thursday” (Continued)

the upper room

The word “Passover” comes from Exodus 12:12-13: “On that same night I [God] will pass through Egypt and strike down ever firstborn – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I am the LORD. The blood [lamb blood on the doorframes of the Israelites – vv. 1-7] will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and I will pass over you. No destruction will touch you when I strike Egypt.

seder wine

Jesus is celebrating the Feast of the Passover (or Seder) with His disciples in an upper room. They are eating a lamb dinner, along with drinking four cups of wine, which they drink throughout the meal, along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs and other foods commemorating the First Passover, when God freed Israel from slavery to the Egyptians. I am finding out, as I write this post, that there varying names for the four cups of Passover. For instance, the Passover booklet I have been using calls the first cup, “the cup of thanksgiving” and there is no mention of “the second cup”, but there is an “Elijah cup”.

me writing 2

After asking my Pastor if he knew the name of the second cup of Passover, he emailed to me the following web page:

“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am The LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be My people, and I will be Your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:6-7 ESV).

The web page explains: “As the Lord spoke these words to Moses, He revealed to him the plan by which He would redeem His elect to become His children. Based on the four promises in the passage above we have the four cups of the Passover Feast.

*The Cup of Sanctification – based on God’s statement, ‘I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians’
*The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance – based on God’s statement, ‘I will deliver you from slavery to them’
*The Cup of Redemption – based on God’s statement, ‘I will redeem you with an outstretched hand’
*The Cup of Praise or Restoration – based on God’s statement, ‘I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God.’”

All these cups point to our Redeemer Jesus Christ, no matter the differing names given to them. I hope this isn’t confusing. But, what do you expect from a Gentile?

judas with high priests

We return to the upper room and Judas almost plows us down. He is going to the chief priests to discuss his betrayal of Jesus. It looks like this is the end, but it’s just the opposite. It is the beginning of God’s redemptive plan to save mankind from the slavery of sin. John 13:31-32 tells us, “When he [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once.’”

broken matzo

After Jesus and his disciples finished their lamb dinner and time of fellowship, it was the custom to conclude the Passover meal with a piece of unleavened bread. It was possibly at this time, Luke 22:19 records, “And He [Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them [disciples], saying, ‘This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”

SWIRL THE WINE

In the Passover booklet, it says the third cup of wine (“the Cup of Blessing” or “the Cup of Redemption”) is poured. The Apostle Paul refers to this cup when he asks, “Is not this cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16). Luke also tells us, “In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:20).

eucharist

During this time in the Seder the leader talks about Elijah returning to announce the coming of the Messiah, and he goes and opens an outside door to welcome him in. Jesus, instead of opening the outside door, He took “the Cup of Elijah” and, offering the blessing, He says to His disciples, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:27b-28).

imagesCAEA2RP3

Finally, the fourth cup of wine is poured (the Cup of Praise or Restoration”) to remember the fourth promise God made to Israel and to us who believe in Christ (from the Passover booklet), “I will make you a chosen people to spread My Word among the nations of the world!” Numbers 6:24-26 is recited: “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

The Bible says, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).

Christ and disciplesJesus in the Garden

Many other crucial events occurred on the first “Maundy Thursday”: Jesus says farewell to His disciples and promises that He is preparing a place for them, the Holy Spirit will come to comfort them and He gives them His peace that is not like what the world offers (John 14:1-31). Jesus also talks to His disciples about Him being the “True Vine” and that they are the “branches”; their strength will come from Him and their “sorrow will be turned into joy” because He has “overcome the world” (John 15-16). Jesus prays for His disciples; for His Father to keep them safe and for His future disciples: “…in order that the love You [the Father] have for Me [The Son] may be in them [all of Jesus’ followers]” (John 17). Jesus agonizes in the Garden of Gethsemane, while His disciples sleep. He asks His Father three times, if there is any way “this cup” can pass from Him. Luke tells us that Jesus’ sweat became “like drops of blood.” At the end of each prayer, Jesus said, “yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:30-46; Mark 14:26-42; Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1). Jesus is betrayed by Judas with a kiss and is arrested and all the disciples desert Him (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12). Jesus is tried before Annas (John 18:12-23), tried before Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54-65; John 18:15-27). Finally, Peter – His friend Peter, denies knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:58, 69-75; Mark 14:54, 66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27).

believe god's love 2banana split love

On the first Maundy Thursday, Jesus give His disciples a New Commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). How do we love like Jesus? He shows us how to love by His own example. Jesus shows us how to love by all the things He did and by all the things He endured on that first Maundy Thursday. But, He didn’t stop there. He explains in John 15:12-14, 17: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command…This is my command: Love each other.” Jesus never tells us to do anything He hasn’t done Himself. On that first Maundy Thursday, He gave us the Sacrament of Communion, to remember Him, and He washed His disciples’ feet. Next, comes “Good Friday” when He died to make us free!

good friday6glasses on Bible

During this past Fall and Winter, I had a weekly Bible study at my house. A group of friends and I, as well as our whole church, studied “Authentic Community: Practicing the one another commands” by Jim Van Yperen. (It is an excellent Bible study book.) You know the “one another” commands – “Love one another”, “Accept one another”, “Have concern for one another”, “Be kind and compassionate to one another” and so on. At the beginning of each study, we took turns leading Communion. Each week, we had a different “style” of Communion. One week, we had a Lutheran Communion, the next week we had a Presbyterian Communion, the next week we read what the Bible said about Communion. It was a very enriching time. We were able to see Communion is so many ways. The experience deepened my understanding and also my awe of Communion and what an awesome gift Jesus gave us to give us joy and unity, instead of being set in our ways and separated from each other. I believe this is what God wants – to love and appreciate one another and to learn from one another. O Lord Jesus, make us one. Help us to love each other as You love us. Amen.

May the Love of Christ Consume Us!

The LydJesua, heart, sand

 

Lydia

“Maundy Thursday”

the upper room

Jesus celebrates His last Passover meal with His disciples, on the day before His death on the cross. Only, from this time on, it will be celebrated as the “Lord’s Supper” or the “Lord’s Table” or “Communion”. Jesus will not only change the Passover to represent His atoning sacrifice on the cross, He will also give all His disciples a New Commandment. “Maundy” comes from the Latin “man datum” which means “mandate” or “commandment”. During the Passover meal, Jesus says to His disciples, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

photo

First, Jesus sends His disciples to find a man who has an upper room for them to use for the Passover meal (The Passover celebrates the time God frees the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage [Exodus 12]). On the first day of Unleavened Bread, Jesus has His last meal with His disciples. The Synoptic Gospels record the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus also tells His disciples that someone would betray Him. (See Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-30) The Gospel of John does not record the Last Supper, but John records Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and He telling Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly”, and He predicts Peter’s denial of Him (John 13:1-38).

seder wineimagesCAEA2RP3

In the following paragraphs, I am going to share what I learned from a booklet given to me by a friend who invited me to a Passover Supper at her home. It was there I learned the significance of the Last Supper coming from the Jewish Passover celebration. I kept the booklet because it changed my life and gave Communion an even richer and deeper meaning for me. I do not know who wrote the booklet, so please know I am using it in addition to my own words.

seder winetowel and basin

During the Passover (or Seder) meal, four cups of wine are used. Each cup is poured from a common bowl to all present as a symbol of unity. The first cup of wine poured is “the cup of blessing”. At the Last Supper, Jesus passed the common bowl to His disciples, saying, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the wine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17b). After everyone drinks “the cup of blessing”, the server presents a basin of water, pitcher and napkin to the leader for the washing of the hands. This symbolizes the interior cleansing necessary for those partaking in this ritual. It is possibly at this time that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, giving a tangible example of His new commandment He gave to His disciples.

broken matzo

The unleavened bread used during the eight days of the Passover, including the Seder supper, commemorates the first Passover, when during the flight from Egypt, God’s people had no time to make leavened bread. Jesus used unleavened bread at His Last Supper. The matzo that is hidden in a cloth envelope or napkin is called the Afikomen, which has two meanings: 1. “hidden” and 2. “coming one”. The Afikomen is broken, which symbolizes, for Christians, as pointing to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the way in which God has saved us from the bondage of sin. Also, it gives me “goose bumps” when I see the matzo having stripes and tiny holes through it. This reminds me of Isaiah 53:5: “But He was pierced [holes] for our transgressions, He was crushed [broken] for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds [stripes] we are healed.” It causes my eyes to tear and my skin to form “goose bumps” every time I take the time to examine a piece of matzo and remember that portion of Isaiah.

hands unitedunited hands

As in the case of the wine shared from a common bowl, the breaking and distributing of a single piece of matzo to all present signifies unity. The Apostle Paul writes, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (I Corinthians 10:17). This reminds me of Jesus’ prayer for all His disciples: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You sent Me…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” (John 17:20b-21, 23b-). How it must grieve Jesus to see His followers at odds with each other!

haroseth

During the Seder, the host dips a piece of matzo into a mixture of apples, cinnamon, honey and sweet wine, called haroseth, and gives it to one of the guests as a customary sign of affection. This gives deep meaning to the time when Jesus dips a piece of bread and gives it to Judas: “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And in was night” (John 13:30). I believe Jesus reached out to Judas one more time, but Judas did not want anything to do with Jesus anymore. Jesus wants to give us the Bread of Life: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty” (John 635). What is our response to Jesus?

Crossconfession

(To be continued)

Through Him, with Him, in Him,

In the unity of the Holy Spirit,

All glory and honor is Yours,

Almighty Father,

For ever and ever! Amen.

The Lyd

Lydia