Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why the Last Supper

I am teaching the end of the book of Mark tomorrow; we've been in it since first of December. The book of Mark approaches the last supper pretty much in the "just the facts, ma'am" style of the rest of the book, and I don't mean that negatively. I see the book of Mark as what a beginner needs, a seeker, really.

It occurred to me today that perhaps the difference between the gospels and Acts/epistles is that the gospels are there to explain fully who Jesus is. They end with the cross and resurrection, but most of them are about a validation, if you will, of Jesus identity. He is the Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, so much more. The Acts and epistles explain the meaning of the cross and resurrection more fully and completely. The gospels really don't explain the cross, they mainly narrate it. Occasionally Jesus refers to what the cross is about, but not fully, as Paul or Peter do (such as in Col. 2 or I Corinthians 1). What Jesus does tell us is that we are to live a cross-type life (take up your cross). To me that means many things--one, humility, and suffering, and selflessness, three things I don't see much of in America right now, despite all the whining about the economy. (Not to make fun--people at my work are going to lose their jobs, and I'm really sorry for them because they have been there a long time and the loss of their job has nothing to do with their quality of work.)

But that brings me to why the last supper.
1. It's Passover (a day early, because Jesus had to be the real Passover lamb the next day). Before we discuss anything else, we have to see it as Passover--the last needed one, so to speak, and the first of how it should be celebrated in the new kingdom. My husband, son, and I attended a Seder several years ago, one of the best things we ever did. It helps make a lot of sense out of the scriptures.
2. It's about servanthood--the washing of the feet.
3. It's about revealing the betrayer. Just in case anyone was doubting, Jesus was sovereign and knew what was going on all along.
4. It's about his last words and teaching to the disciples. John is where this is found; the other gospels do not mention it.
5. It's the institution of a memorial feast until the second coming. So sad so many people got it so wrong for so long.
5. It's about fellowship.
6. They were hungry. These last two are important because they validate our humanness. I have no patience for a form of Christianity that denies our humanity, denies the beauty of the world, denies the value of human relationships. That's not in the Bible.
I told my SS class last week this was one time in the Bible where the men did the cooking! (Also on the beach in John 21.)

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