Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Jesus Celebrates The Passover
“Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.” (Matthew 26:17-19)
The feast of unleavened bread started with the Passover and continued for eight days in remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their flight from Pharaoh, beginning with the angel of death passing over them and ending with the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea seven days later. On the first day they were to remove all forms of leaven from their houses and get things ready for Passover, which would not be eaten until after sundown.
On Wednesday morning the disciples came to Jesus asking him where they were going to partake the Passover since the law demanded that every Jew partake of it. Luke 22:10-13 gives details as to how they were to find the place. “And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.”
“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:20-22)
While they were eating. Jesus announced that one of the disciples was going to betray him. None of the disciples except Judas had any idea who he was talking about. Convinced that the others were more spiritual, each asked if it would be him.
“And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:23-24)
Jesus said it was the one who was dipping into the same dish that would betray him, fulfilling the prophecy, but that he would regret the decision. John 13:26 says, “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”
“Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:25)
The others had already asked if they were the ones who would betray Jesus, Judas had to act like the others to allay suspicion so he asked if it was him. Jesus essentially said yes he was. He then told him to go and do what he had in mind. At that point Judas made his decision as to when to betray Jesus according to John 13:27. “And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.”
The other disciples heard the entire exchange but were so convinced of Judas’ trustworthiness, they didn’t believe Jesus meant he would betray him but assumed since he was the treasurer, the Jesus meant for him to give some money to the poor or buy something they needed. John 13:2830 tells us, “Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”
Judas had so completely fooled them by his actions that each of them believed they were more likely to betray Jesus themselves than Judas was. It is a powerful reminder that we really can’t make valid judgments about other people. Judas left to meet with the priests, knowing where Jesus was going next.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29)
After Judas left, Jesus blessed the bread and broke it giving it to the disciples, saying it represented his body. He then took the cup, giving thanks and sharing it with them saying it represented his blood which was shed for many as an atonement for their sin under the new testament or contract with God. He stated that he would not drink any more of the fruit of the vine until he could drink new grape juice with them in heaven.
Neither the Greek or English wording in any way indicates that the bread or the drink actually turn to Jesus’ flesh and blood in any of gospels, nor is the word wine ever used. Since fermentation is a result of a leavening process, under the law, the Jews were not supposed to use fermented wine for Passover. That restriction is often ignored today, but I do not know what the policy was in Jesus' day.
“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30)
They concluded the communion service by singing a hymn or song of worship and going to the Mount of Olives where they usually slept. It was where Judas would expect to find them. Jesus was not trying to avoid his arrest.