Making sense of it all (part 8)

The 'Last Pesach'

Picture the scene. No, not the scene that you've seen umpteen times in the Last Supper paintings of various Italian artists. The real scene would have the thirteen Jews sprawled on the floor on cushions. They would have their heads covered, in reverence to their God and the bread on the low table would be strictly of the unleavened variety.

Pesach, Passover, was, and is, a celebration of freedom. It looks back to the freeing of a slave nation at a certain point in history. It also looks forwards in messianic expectation to a time when all will be free from all kinds of oppression.

This particular Pesach would be the most significant one in the history of the Jewish people and the world. Jesus and his twelve disciples raised their first cup of wine, the cup of sanctification. Jesus said the prayer, 'Baruch atah adonai eloheynu melech ho'olom, b'ray p're hagofen', 'Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine'.

He then told his disciples that he would not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. He knew that this was to be his final meal, that his time had come. What happened next must have come as a real surprise to the disciples, as it would to us to. He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

This Messiah, this Son of God, had the humility to take on the role of servant. It was an aspect of the type of Messiah he was to be, the suffering Messiah. Simon Peter, one of the more head-strong disciples, took exception to this and told Jesus 'you shall not wash my feet'. Jesus in his reply told him that, unless Simon allowed him to wash his feet, he would have no part of him.