Can’t you just hear Jesus’ longing to have His chosen friends around Him at this last Passover meal? He wants their presence, their physical support, their love close around Him. He knows that in less than twenty-four hours from now He will be dead. But He also is desperate that they grasp the significance of what is about to happen.
Passover is all about remembering the escape of the entire Hebrew people from Egypt – where they had been for about four hundred years. Every single Hebrew who took part in that first Passover night had been born a slave.
They had seen God doing miracles through Moses to win them release: the Red Sea turned to blood, there was the plague of the locusts, the flies, the frogs, the death of the livestock, and now the death of every single firstborn of every family is about to happen. Moses warns the people that the Angel of Death is about to sweep through the entire land of Egypt that night, with no respect for anyone great or small.
This will be a night of sheer terror. Each one of them knew that this was no idle threat. It was terrifying. And real. But God had provided just one way of escape: the blood of a lamb painted over the door lintel of every Hebrew house and the family huddled inside was the only protection from this fearsome Angel of Death. They had to trust, literally, for their lives to the blood over their door.
And now, at Jesus’ last Passover, He desperately wants His disciples to grasp the significance of what is about to happen: Jesus, Himself, is to be the new Passover lamb. All that happened before has just been a picture of what He is about to do – not just for the Hebrew people, but for the world. Jesus rose again and broke the power of death. In Him, we find life, eternal life. As we shelter in His sacrifice, the authority of that Angel of Death is ended over each one of us. Jesus is our promise of eternal life, with Him.
On this last Passover evening, Jesus knows what is coming. He wants his closest friends near him. But He also looks forward confidently for that day when they all – and we - will celebrate His Passover triumph with Him in His Kingdom.
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