Summary: Many events and observations of Christ's last days before The Resurrection

Weekend Message/Devotion

April 14, 2019

Luke 22:14-23:56

HIS Last days!

This week’s gospel reading covers many events and observations. Let’s just walk through them and really absorb the events in the last days of The Messiah leading up to His resurrection.

We begin this reading with Jesus and His disciples gathered to celebrate the Feast of Pesach (Passover). However, this celebration becomes more of a prelude for the coming events of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial of our Lord.

We celebrate this event (communion, we call it here) monthly and on special occasions. Many churches celebrate “communion” weekly.

This celebration is referred to by several titles: The Lord’s Supper, The Last Supper, Holy Communion. Communion. Eucharist or Holy Eucharist and others. No matter the tile, all represent the FIRST of what we have come to know and celebrate as “communion”. The actual manner of celebration also varies from denomination to denomination, with all sharing the fruit of the vine (fermented or unfermented) and bread.

This gathering of Christ and His disciples occurs just days after Jesus attended a festive time with friends in Bethany (last week’s message).

Just a thought: When I read somewhere about “The Last Supper”, I always think NO, this was the “FIRST” supper, as far as the meaning that we celebrate today.

As you know, we always read Luke 22:14-22 at the beginning of our communion services. It helps bring the true meaning into perspective. As we read verses 20-22:

“Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Luke 22_20-22

We find a significant reminder that we may also be a “betrayer of” Jesus, if we partake of the elements of communion without first confessing before Him our sins and devotion. Think about it. This is a serious time of remembrance and demands our serious response. We never want to proceed out of any sense of ritual or tradition but out of love and honor to the ONE who shed His blood and suffered a broken body for the express purpose of our having the means of redemption and restoration before God Almighty by the remission of our sins.

We view the partaking of the communion elements without first confessing sins as a grave betrayal to Jesus and His Sacrifice.

As we read on, we encounter the disciples exercising that common human trait of pride and ambition; each seeking to be recognized as the greatest among the disciples. Can you remember a time, listening to anyone brag about how smart they are, how great they are, what great accomplishments they have done? We may all be guilty of this from time to time BUT in retrospect the audience may be politely listening but likely rolling their eyes. No one likes a braggart.

Jesus immediately addresses this discussion by saying, in effect: The greatest among you is the one who is the servant. Jesus gave of Himself in service to all, all of His life and He is certainly the greatest who ever walked on this earth. In our time (At least those of us that have been around a while) Mother Theresa comes to mind. This woman; small in stature; humble in nature, devoted her entire life to the Kingdom of God in His service and in serving the poorest of the poor in India. I am fortunate enough to have actually met her and felt her love for God and His creation back in the late 1940's, during one of her visits the United States. I think of the great women through the years who tend nurseries and child care during church services. It is a self-less service to God and to fellow congregants. These ladies are among the greatest. Volunteers who visit their churches during the week to clean and vacuum the sanctuary, bathrooms and common areas are among God’s greatest. Those who serve others in any capacity, expecting no recognition or financial gain are among God’s greatest.

It is so sad that so many celebrities are viewed in greater esteem by so many. Referrals that come to mind are: That boxer said to be “The Greatest” – The singers - King of Rock and Roll – Queen of Soul – and on and on. In too many instances they have greater influence on the vulnerable in our society.

Knowing what lies ahead, Jesus makes His way to the garden with the disciples. As they neared the place where Jesus sought solitude, He instructed the followers to pray that they not enter into temptation. The temptation to self -aggrandizement freshly comes to mind but the constant barrage of temptations befalls us all and more so when we are facing opportunities of great service to God and fellow man.

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