Summary: Good Friday sermon focusing on The Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane
Tonight, we remember one of the most dramatic points in Christian history: Jesus’ last night on the earth before His crucifixion and resurrection.
This story begins in Luke 22:7
It was Passover. The city was full of people. The disciples worried that they would not be able to find a place to hold their Passover meal. Had they known that it would be their last together, they would likely have worried even more. But just as it is in our own lives, they worried for no reason. God had already taken care of it. Jesus told Peter and John exactly what to do, just as He had with the donkey and the colt, and everything was just as He told them it would be.
Tradition holds that The Cenacle is the room where Jesus and Hid disciples shared their last Passover meal together. Some people hold that it was owned by Jesus’ mother, some say Nicodemus, and others say the Mother of Mark. Whoever owned it, it is directly above the tomb of King David, and it was waiting for this very night.
In all likelihood, only the 12 disciples that Jesus had called were in attendance at His last Passover meal. The Disciples were lounging around the table. Yes. They were lounging. The word used is “reclined.” It was customary for there to be a very low table surrounded by cushions or sofas. Now, the younger people are thinking, that sounds cool! The older folks, like me, are thinking, someone would need to help me up!
Imagine that you are one of the disciples. This is an important event because it is the Passover meal, but it feels somehow different this time. Jesus has been acting differently these past few days. What is going on with Him, you might be wondering? Things are quieter than normal for this festive meal. The room feels heavy. There is a different spirit present here and you can almost feel it pressing down on you. You try to ignore it by passing conversation with another one of the disciples as you lounge there by the meal that is spread before you, waiting for Jesus to bless.
As the servers come to pass the elements of the Lord’s Supper, I would ask you to make sure that your heart is right with God and that you think back, especially on this night, to that night when Jesus shared this meal with His disciples.
As they were finishing their meal, Jesus told them that the betrayer was among them. He then singled out Judas and told him to go quickly to do that which he had conspired to do. Judas left in anger, as Satan was allowed to enter him.
Just as we are going to do in a few moments before we leave here, Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn together before they left for the Garden of Gethsemane. My imagination fills this in with Amazing Grace, but since it wasn’t written yet, it was likely a hymn regarding the Passover.
What a true Rabbi Jesus was. Rabbi means ‘teacher’ and He continued to teach His disciples to the last. He not only warned them that hard times were coming, but He also encouraged them that no matter what came their way, He was going to be with them always. He told them that He was going to prepare a place for them, just as He has for you and me. And them He told them that they will be given another Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
After He had finished teaching He asked Peter and John to follow Him a little further, while the other disciples lay down to sleep. He asked them to sit and pray while He went alone to pray.
This was an agonizing time for Jesus. He knew what was coming and must have dread it just as you or I would if we knew something horrendous was about to happen to us. Not only that, but He was concerned for His disciples. He knew how hard things would get for them. He knew their unbelief. He knew that they wanted to believe but that they each had their own doubts and fears. In fact, we went back to check on Peter and John and found them asleep and reprimanded them for it. He said that their spirit was willing by their flesh was weak. Isn’t that true of so many of us?
Jesus went back to pray. He was in such anguish that He sweat great drops of blood. The medical term for that is Hematidrosis. The blood vessels around the sweat glands burst, causing the sweat to contain blood.
Jesus finally cried out to His Father, “Father, if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me.” And then He uttered the words that anyone that truly wants to follow Christ must utter, in some fashion, “not My will, but Yours be done.” The choice was His. He could have backed out any time He wanted. But He didn’t. As His resolve set, He got up and woke Peter and John and the rest of the disciples, just as Judas showed up with the temple guards and the Pharisees.