Summary: This message deals with the Last Supper and focuses on four departures Jesus made from the regular Passover meal. In the end, he changed the meaning of Passover forever. Text from Mark 14:12-26
Four Departures Jesus made from the regular Passover at the Last Supper
CHCC: April 3, 2011
Can you think of a day in your life that changed everything?
I remember a day that changed my life forever. It was Sunday afternoon in late August, 1968. I was 18 and had graduated from high school. I was over at a friend’s house. My parents called me and asked me to come home. (Something they had never done before.) All the way home, I wondered if something was wrong. When I got home my parents were sitting in the living room on the couch. They asked me to sit down. This all seemed very weird. The first words out of my dad’s mouth were, “Son, you’re leaving home.”
I said, “Uh … am I in some kind of trouble?”
Dad smiled and said, “No, but you’re about to leave home. You said you want to go to Bible College … so we’ve decided to send you to Ozark Bible College.”
I said, “Okay. Cool! I’ll let my friends know.”
Dad said, “No, you don’t understand. Your clothes are in the dryer. When they’re dry, you’ll pack your car and head off to Missouri. School starts Tuesday and it’s 1,200 miles away. You’d better get on your way.”
About 90 minutes later I was on the road to Joplin.
Everything about my life changed from that day onward. That one day set up my career, my future (lovely) wife, where I would live my adult life … everything!
If we look in History, we can name some days that changed the world: Naturally, December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Assassination of President Kennedy, the day we landed on the moon, Nine-Eleven. All of these days were history-making days.
But the day that marked the death of Jesus Christ stands as the biggest history-changing day on planet Earth.
Today and for the next 3 Sundays we will focus on the events of Jesus final day and His brutal murder on a Roman cross. We’re going to walk with Jesus through those 24 earth-shattering hours … starting the evening of a night when Jesus would get no sleep.
This is the evening when Jesus and his disciples celebrated what we’ve come to call The Last Supper. That’s not what they called it that night. To Jesus disciples, this was one more Passover celebration … an event they had observed every year since they were children.
Without going into a lot of detail about the Passover let me just mention that the Passover had been celebrated for 1,500 years at that time … ever since the day God sent the final plague on Egypt so that Pharaoh would set the slaves free. That night the death angel passed-over Egypt and every firstborn child died … all except those protected by the blood of a sacrificed lamb that was posted on the door post of Jewish homes. Jews still observe Passover today, in remembrance of the day the Death Angel Passed Over each home that was covered by the blood of a sacrificial lamb.
When Jesus and his Disciples arrived at the upper room, they reclined around a low table which had been prepared for the Passover Seder. There would have been one or two large platters of food in the center of the table. The dinner guests back then didn’t have individual plates or utensils. They ate with their hands around a communal platter and dipped in a common bowl. And they also shared one cup that would be passed around the table.
• The Passover Table would be set with the Seder Plate containing:
• Karpas – a green vegetable (usually parsley) dipped in salt water near the beginning of the meal symbolizing spring and rebirth
• Haroset – a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine, and spices symbolizing the mortar the slaves had to make for the bricks in Egypt
• Maror – the bitter herbs (usually horseradish) to symbolize the bitterness of slavery
• Beitzah – roasted eggs to symbolize the festival of sacrifice
• Zeroa – a roasted bone, usually a shank bone to represent the roasted lamb
• Salt Water as a symbol of the tears of slavery
• Beside the Seder plate would be Matzot: three pieces of unleavened bread in a Matzah Cover with 3 compartments.
• Also on the table would be a wine skin containing kosher wine, and a Cup which would be passed around the table four different times
Jesus put on a special White Robe worn by the leader at Passover, and they started with hand washings and blessings, called Ur-hatz. During the Passover celebration that night, Jesus broke with tradition four times. The first break probably happened at this point.