(John 13, Luke 22)
Bible is quiet about what Jesus did two days before the Passover. Jesus did return to Bethany in the evening after discussing with high priest and Pharisees three days before the Passover. It is recorded in Marc 13. The next event recorded in the bible is the last supper, which happened a day before the Passover.
Jesus knew his time had arrived. Time to die as a blemishless Passover lamb. Jesus chose to spend his last few hours privately with his chosen disciples. He sent his close disciples Peter and John to find the room and arrange the supper. It was going to be his last evening and supper on earth.
It was already evening. When everything was arranged for supper, Jesus and his disciples gathered in the upper room. Normally in a Jewish gathering, the slave of the host will wash the feet of the guests. But Jesus got up from his place and wrapped a towel around his waist and took the basin. Disciples knew by now what Jesus was intending to do. Master does not wash disciples’ feet. But Jesus started washing each of his disciple’s feet and started to wipe them with the towel. If God can serve man, then man can surely serve fellow men. If Jesus can serve his disciples, then his disciples who are the followers of Jesus should serve others.
Judas who was destined to betray Jesus because of his interior motives was also part of the twelve sitting along with other disciples. Jesus did clean his feet like all the other feet. Judas was with Jesus for more than three years. He was part of all the conversation, ministries and witnessed several miracles. Jesus went through great anguish, not because of betrayal of Judas but because Judas would not be able to make it to heaven. Judas after following Jesus for many years was ready to throw away his prestigious apostleship for thirty pieces of silver. He threw away his calling and the great honor for worthless immediate gain. Many of us do exchange our precious spiritual gifts and holy calling for temporary pleasure, pride, and position.
When Jesus told the people that they must eat his flesh and drink the blood (John 6: 53,54) in order to enter the everlasting life. It was difficult for everyone to understand. Some of the followers left him saying it’s a difficult teaching. During the last supper, he demonstrated what it means. He broke the bread and gave it to his disciple to share and eat. The broken bread symbolizes the broken body of Jesus on the cross.
He took the cup, gave thanks and said, ”Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” – Matthew 26:27,28. The word covenant repeats 295 times in the old testament. In the new testament, it repeats for 37 times. But Jesus Christ used the word covenant only once in the context of the last supper. There was only one covenant introduced by Jesus Christ. That was through his blood. An everlasting covenant between the man and God to forgive everyone’s sin. It is a new covenant.
It was time to leave. Jesus and his disciples walked toward Mount Olivet. They crossed the Kidron valley and reached the garden of Gethsemane, which was at the foot of Mount Olivet. Jesus spent time alone with his father in prayer, while his disciples were tired and dozed off. Jesus knew what he had to go through. He left everything to his father’s will in perfect submission.
Judas knew where Jesus would go after dinner. He was familiar with the approach Jesus took from Jerusalem to Bethany. Judas came along with soldiers to arrest Jesus. They surrounded Jesus and his disciples. The soldiers arrested Jesus and dragged him to Annas, who was the father in law of Caiaphas. Annas was not the high priest but he still controlled a lot of power. He appointed five of his sons and son in law (Caiaphas) as high priest when he left high priest role.
Jesus was questioned all night. They slapped him and made fun of him. Can an infinite God get slapped? That too for the sake of finite man. Can the creation torture the creator? Can the powerless overcome the powerful? What happened with Jesus was an anomaly. It was all abnormal. Why God had to accept the abnormal? Isn’t it all for love? God loved his creation as is. Independent of their stiff-necked and rebellious behavior he chose to give it all.
While Jesus was being questioned and beaten during that night, one of his close disciple Peter, who promised to give his life for Jesus denied Jesus thrice. Years later the same Peter was crucified by emperor Nero upside down. What had he done wrong? He was accused of following Jesus. He did not deny him before Nero. Peter learned his lesson. He understood the cost of following Jesus and was ready to pay the price when the time came.
It was almost morning when the rooster began to crow. It is the day of Passover. The Passover lamb was available in the Jerusalem temple for sale for all Jews to celebrate. While the actual Passover lamb was arrested and getting ready to be crucified on the Passover day.
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