Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thursday Last Supper

Today's excerpt from my novella.
On Thursday they prepared for the Passover meal. They had arranged to eat it at Cleopas’ house. The air was somber. Jesus knew this was the night. Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha were there. Cleopas, his wife Mary, and John Mark were there too. Jesus own mother, Salome, and a woman named Joanna were there. The upper room was large enough to fit over a hundred people.

The tone was somber, especially when you consider how excited they all had been on Sunday. The kingdom of God did not erupt after he rode into Jerusalem. It did not erupt after he “cleansed” the Temple of the money changers. Each day, the tone got more serious. The venom of the religious leaders was palpable on Tuesday. On Wednesday Jesus had spoken of the desecration, maybe even the destruction of the Temple.

Now it was Passover, and there was a seriousness to Jesus they had never seen. He had never been this way. It terrified them. “This is my body, which is going to be broken for you,” he said at one point during the meal while passing around the bread. As an angel, it was amazing to see how such an important statement did not take its full weight. For some, it went in one ear and out the other.

When the meal was over, Jesus’ heart continued to be troubled. “One of you is going to betray me,” he finally said, looking especially at Judas, who was on his left side. Lazarus was on his right, and Peter next to him.

“Ask him who it is,” Peter said to Lazarus.

“I will dip in the cup with him,” Jesus told John Lazarus, and then he dipped in the cup he shared with Judas.

When Judas saw Jesus hand him the cup, his face hardened, and he immediately left the room. He was determined to follow through on his course. He would show Jesus. He was not betraying him. He was saving him.

Then Jesus took the cup. “This is my blood, which is going to be shed for you.” And he passed the cup around.

It was a strange thing to say, macabre, almost grotesque. A Jew would never drink blood. It was expressly forbidden to ingest blood.

Yet Jesus had told them several times that he was going to die. It was Passover. The Israelites had put blood on the doorposts of their houses during the exodus to protect them from the angel of destruction. Now Jesus was going to give life through his blood. He would become the Lamb, and there was power in the blood of the Lamb to redeem all humanity.

After supper and passing the cup, Jesus and the eleven made their way around the walls of Jerusalem to the Garden of Gethsemane. They were exhausted and deeply discouraged, tempted to doubt. Jesus urged them to pray, but most fell asleep trying.

Jesus especially urged Peter, James, and John to stay awake with him to pray, but they also could hardly stay awake. So Jesus prayed alone.

“Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.”

Three times he prayed this to God the Father. Between each time he tried to wake up Peter, James, and John to pray with him, to no effect.

It was a real struggle for Jesus. His human will was tempted to run. His human will was tempted to escape. His divine will would never have gone through with it, but his human will did not falter. He did not want to go through with it, but he chose to submit to Trinity’s will.

The third time he came to them he felt sympathy. They were willing in their spirits, but they just did not have the will power to stay awake.

It did not matter anymore. Judas had arrived with armed people sent from the priests and elders. He had arranged to greet Jesus with a kiss on the cheek, which he did.

“So you are betraying me with a kiss, brother?” Jesus said to Judas.

Peter sprang awake, as did the other disciples. Confused but ready to fight, he lunged with his dagger at one of the high priest’s servants and actually cut off his ear. It was a man named Malchus. He would later believe. Jesus touched the ear, and the bleeding stopped.

“Put your swords away,” Jesus said to his disciples. “This is the plan of God.”

Then to the mob he said, “You didn’t want to arrest me in the Temple? Am I a violent man, a revolutionary? Nevertheless, it is your hour.”

When the disciples saw that Jesus was going willingly with them, they were stunned. They were ready to fight for Jesus and his kingdom. They were not prepared for him to go willingly. Even Judas was shocked, hoping that God would send ten thousand angels to destroy his enemies.

So the disciples scattered. Some went to Bethany, others to Cleopas’ house.

When he heard Jesus had been arrested, John Mark jumped out of bed, quickly grabbed a linen cloth to cover his naked body, and ran out of the house. Lazarus quickly got dressed and wasn’t far behind.

1 comment:

stenote said...

Interestung article... Sharing article about the Last Supper in Milan in
Watch also the video in youtube