As the concluding episode of “The Bible” approaches March 31 so is the climax of the story of good news for the world . . . Jesus Christ is crucified and buried but God raises Him from the dead in a glorious resurrection and it turns out this is not the end of the story. Even after The Bible series ends, stay tuned. Go back to the Scriptures.
This week is what the church for many years is called Holy Week. It refers to the week before the celebration of Easter. Today is also the celebration of the Jewish feast of the Passover.
Easter and Passover are strongly connected. The Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples was around a Passover meal, so the events of Holy Week were during the Passover, and so there is much overlap.
For Christians, Easter is the new Passover. It is liberation and celebration of freedom from bondage to sin and joyous exit from the tomb of slavery to the light of the promise in the Messiah who is not only king of the Jews but Lord and king of all the universe.
I’ve been reading Luke 22 and the story of the Upper Room and the conversation and the ritual meal is powerful when you read it for what’s happening politically, socially, spiritually in the world at that moment. Starting in v. 14, Jesus says to His disciples, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you, but this is my last Passover till it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus breaks bread with the disciples, then says “I’m not going to eat this again with you until the age to come.” He goes on to share the cup again, to break the bread again and dip in the bowl again with the disciples. This time he’s “re-presenting” the Passover meal as His own body, his own blood of a new covenant with them, one that was taking effect as a new kingdom coming into the world. They would be his witnesses to the world of this kingdom come and references to the banquet in the life to come meant that the kingdom was already here but still coming to be fully fulfilled in the world to come.
These are powerful and important moments in the life of Christ, the disciples, the church, for us. I challenge you to read Luke 22 this week.