Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Lamb of God

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The first day of the feast.

Wherever Jesus was when the day began,  the disciples came to Him and asked Him where they would be celebrating Passover.  Perhaps they assumed they'd had an invitation from friends...

But He told them to go into the city and find a guy with a water jar and follow him to the place where they would share the traditional meal.

Kind of strange instructions, but they did as He said, found the guy with the jar who took them to a room and they made their preparations there.  Tradition says it was the house of John Mark, or rather, his mother's house.

That evening, Jesus came with the twelve who had been closest to him, and they ate the meal together.

Matthew, Mark and Luke record the sharing of the bread and the cup, over which Jesus makes His rather  peculiar statements of 'this is my body' and 'this is my blood....remember Me.' John relates the foot washing. 

A number of years ago, I was privileged to attend a  seder demonstration done by Paul Wilbur, the Messainic Jewish worship leader. It was paradigm-shifting, and jaw-dropping as he explained its symbolism.  The Passover meal wasn't just a pitch in dinner; it has a prescribed menu and a prescribed ritual that goes along with it.  When Jesus took the bread at the end of the meal, it wasn't just any ol' piece of matzah was the specific piece known as the 'afikomen'.  (Google that and read about it).  It is hidden early in the meal, and brought out...often, the children are sent to find the very end.  It is the last thing eaten.  In modern  times, the afikomen is thought to represent the Passover lamb.

Just think about that for a minute.

The Passover lamb is unique.  Unlike other sacrifices, it was not a sin sacrifice.  Nowhere is atonement mentioned in connection with the Passover lamb. It was killed, and eaten, to give strength to the Hebrews who were about to undertake a very strenuous journey.  The Passover lamb gave its life so that God's people could have life. It was a symbol of the relationship between God and His people...the blood of the Lamb identified them. 

Think about that for a minute.

John the Baptist's declaration of Jesus as 'The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world' was a kind of odd statement for that day...combining the Passover sacrifice with the atonement sacrifice.  Yet, here was Jesus at the Passover, equating himself with those specific elements...the body broken, the blood shed. His statements about the bread and the wine had way more impact than we recognize in our wasn't just about breaking bread or crushing grapes.  He was specifically identifying Himself as the Messiah.  The disciples should've understood it. 

After He finished the supper and washed their feet, He recognized the demonic influence in Judas, identified Judas as the one to betray Him, and sent him off to do it. 

Jesus was completely calling the shots.  Judas was just watching for an opportunity...Jesus intentionally gave it to him.  When Jesus and the disciples later left the room, they went to the Mount of Olives...Gethsemane...quite possibly the same place they had gone the last few nights.

All Jesus would've had to do to save Himself at that point was go hide again.  The traitor was identified and sent away.  If He had just gone somewhere Judas didn't know, He would have been safe.

But He went to the place Judas knew.  A place that was far away from the crowds, where no one would be disturbed.  The ideal location for the men (they were NOT Roman soldiers!  Not yet!) sent from the Jewish leaders to arrest Him.

Jesus deliberately picked that place...may even have prepared it ahead of time.  And He went with the guards without resistance.  There is no mention of anyone abusing Him.  After picking themselves up off of the ground after Jesus spoke just three words...and seeing him heal Malchus's ear...I think they dealt with Him very carefully as they took him back into the city.

The abuse would come at the hands of others.

Jesus was deliberate in His actions on my behalf.  How deliberate am I in reflecting that dedication to those around me?


  1. As a Roman Catholic, we take those words at the last Supper literally and are kind of puzzled that other Christians don't. We truly believe that the bread and wine do become the body and blood of our saviour. John 6:53-60 is when Jesus prophesies about what he will do and many of his followers left at that point, they were so scandalized. This was cannibalism to them. But for me as a Catholic, this is the very centre of my faith. The real presence of Christ, body soul and divinity in that bread and wine.

    1. As a non-Roman Catholic, I was really surprised to learn a number of years ago that the Catholics actually believed the wine (and I was surprised it was wine!) and bread turned into blood and flesh. Transubstantiation vs. Consubstantiation vs. Representation and all that. :-) But what impressed me so much was the symbolism of it in the seder...and how distinctly it portrayed Messiah. Looking toward Him all the years leading up to that moment...remembering Him ever after.