I had the pleasure of leading our congregation through a Seder/Passover meal a couple of years ago. I put together a little booklet called a “Haggadah“ to explain the symbolism behind each element of the meal. I made the booklet into a slide show for anyone interested. I’d encourage everyone to step through it and truly think about depth of Jesus’ participation in this meal as the actual Passover lamb. You can also download the booklet and print it out here along with an extra leaders guide: Christ in the Passover (It has a few extra meaningful notes in blue.) For a better understanding of the fact that Jesus deviated from the normal Passover meal during the 3rd cup (Cup of Redemption), I’d also encourage you to read this blog I wrote about Jewish wedding customs.
Click on the first pic and the rest will come up in “book” form.
Alright, this past week was Holy Week. I had shared in a previous post that I was going to have the opportunity to lead our church through the Passover Meal. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a little report about how it all went.
I was certainly nervous as we started the whole thing, but once I got going, I settled into it all and really enjoyed it. Delia and Debbie did a great job of putting together all the food for the plates and decorating so all I had to do is teach. Santhia also helped out by doing some music and reading the Passover story. Miranda was supposed to do that part, but ended up being sick. (That’s a whole other story.) Anyway, it was fun to watch as the “lights” went on for people regarding the passover meals relationship to communion. I also got lots of compliments from people following the whole thing. I think it’s something I’d enjoy doing again. Maybe next year, I’ll even be more comfortable with the material and be able to teach it even better.
Here’s the “Haggadah” (guide) that I put together for the meal.
Here’s the newest commentary that I’ve written on John 13. I started the book of John a long time ago, and now we’re continuing through that book in our Wednesday Bible Studies, so I guess I’ll be adding to the original stuff that I wrote. Here’s what I learned today about John 13:
John 13 Commentary
Who would want to know when they were gonna die? Not me. But Jesus knew. What would that be like? How would you spend your last few days of life?
This story is a “type” or “foreshadow” of what Jesus is about to do on the cross.
Passover – a Jewish festival in which they partook of a celebration meal remembering how God had provided for them during the Exodus. They also remembered how God had saved them from the last Egyptian plague with the Passover lamb. The time of this celebration was the perfect time for the cross, because Jesus would be the new Passover lamb.
Jesus knew what Judas would be doing and yet He still treated Him well. Jesus served Him knowing that he would betray him.
The famous artistic portrayals of the Last Supper are pretty much all wrong. The disciples were not sitting at chairs around a table, but probably laying on low couches around a “U-shaped” low table. This is the way the Roman triclinium was arranged also. Jesus was in the center, with John at his right and Judas at his left. These were both honored positions. It is also probable that they leaned on their left arms so as to keep the right hand (the “clean” hand) free to grab food and partake in the meal. This meant that Jesus would have been facing John’s back and Judas’ would have faced Jesus’ back.
The foot-washing custom was normally given to a slave or even a crippled or mentally handicapped slave who was unable to do anything else. A water pot was kept outside the door for this practice. If there was no slave at the door, one of the group members would wash the others feet out of courtesy. No one volunteered this particular day, so Jesus stepped “up” to the task.
Vs 4 – 11
The Luke account of this story says that the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus answers their question with His own actions as He washes their feet. This is scandalous humility – for someone of Jesus’ standing to step into the lowliest of positions. God scrubs the feet of the creatures that He created.
Vs 4 – Jesus stripped his outer clothes – most likely down to a loincloth which would have been typical attire for a slave.
Vs 5 – Jesus actually washes Judas’ feet. Jesus had spent 3 years caring for this guy – clothing him, feeding him, etc and He knew that Judas was gonna betray him. (By the way, Judas had been stealing money from Jesus’ ministry the whole time.) Jesus washed Judas’ feet because he was re-enacting what was about to come – He was gonna die for the whole world – including Judas. Jesus did it to honor His Father – Remember his words in Mt 26:39 – “Not my will, but yours.”
Vs 8-9 – Peter’s unwillingness to have his feet washed was a normal response for an unbeliever – but Peter was not an unbeliever. On the other hand, by saying “wash all of me” he was missing the point to. He needed cleansing for daily sin, not to be rebathed (reborn).
If you consider this act of service a foreshadow of the cross, you realize that Jesus’ seemingly harsh words here in vs 8 come out of a deep concern for Peter and the other disciple’sacceptance of His later act on the cross.
Vs 15 – Again if you consider this act a foreshadow of the cross, the example to follow is not one simply of humility, but also one of self-sacrifice and laying down our lives for one another.
Vs 23 – “reclining next to him” should literally be translated“reclining in the bosom (or lap) of Jesus.” The Epistles of Pliny (the younger) refer to this as a place of high honor.
Vs 34 – Love as a commandment is an interesting thought. In the OT, their obedience to the commandments symbolized Israel’s relationship with God and marked them as a people who were set apart from the rest of the peoples. Love should be the mark that we carry setting us apart. It also symbolizes our relationship with God.
I’ve been thinking alot about “comfort” lately. I’m not real sure why, but here are some of my thoughts:
Matt Redman wrote a song quite a few years ago with one line that really stuck out to me – “I’ve crafted myself a more comfortable cross.” When I first heard the song I thought about this guy I had seen when I was in college. He was one of those crazy preachers who traveled around yelling at people. He was yelling at all of us students between classes and asking if we were “saved.” etc. I think he meant well, but he wasn’t getting very far with most of the students. Anyway, he was carrying a cross and said he was traveling across the United States with his message. But here’s the interesting part: the cross he was carrying had wheels on it. Did Jesus’ cross have wheels? Were they there to help make the journey? I mean, you can’t really put wheels on your cross if you’re trying to be like Jesus – can you? Anyway, it was just like Matt Redman sung – a “more comfortable cross.”
I worked with a speaker named Jeremy Kingsley a few years ago. He had a strange practice I remembered as I’ve been thinking about comfort too. When the youth that I work with would go on trips, they’d always yell “shotgun!” to get the front seat. You know the game. Right?? Jeremy would yell before they even thought of it “I get back seat!!” Strange, huh?? But cool!! Jeremy is that kind of guy. He’s great at taking the normal things we do and making you think about them differently. Anyway, as he worked towards “discomfort,” he served the Lord and our youth.
I wonder how I have made my cross more comfortable? It’s true – I’m comfortable in the ways that I serve. We Christians are uncomfortable whenever we get out of of normal routines. We have our own Christian subculture that we’ve created so we can be comfortable all the time. I mean we have Christian music, Christian toys, Christian clothes, even Christian candy. I guess it’s important not to eat any of that secular candy. (By the way – Christian is a label that can only be used on people)
Anyway, where would Jesus be in all this? I’m pretty sure He got accused of hanging out with the sinners and the prostitutes. He even had fun and turned water to wine at a wedding. Why am I uncomfortable in these party situations? If Jesus was comfortable there, why am I on my guard when someone starts drinking around me or says a cuss word?
What if the cross I carried wasn’t supposed to be comfortable? What if I worked at being uncomfortable? What if I tried to hang out with people who make me uncomfortable? When it comes to money and what I give to the church, if I was uncomfortable, I’d probably be giving more to the Lord. If I wasn’t so concerned about my own comfort all the time, I bet I’d be a better husband and I’d do more things for my beautiful bride. If I worked to be uncomfortable, I’d probably do a lot more physical labor and help out my friends with things they needed done. If I worked to be uncomfortable, with the way I eat, I’d probably lose weight. If I was uncomfortable with the sin in my life, maybe I’d repent and be more spiritually healthy. If I was uncomfortable in the ways I serve the Lord, maybe I’d find myself serving in places I never imagined. (By the way, watch the movie “The Second Chance” someday.) Maybe I’d live in another town or country. Maybe I’d have a different job. Maybe I’d buy more things to give away and fewer things for myself. How much does my own “comfort” really drive my life? Probably more than I’d like to admit.
Anyway, you get the point. “Comfort” might just be right where Satan wants us. It’s when we’re uncomfortable, that we learn to lean on and trust in the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, I hesitate to even pray this prayer, ’cause I know it’s gonna mean changes for me, but I wanna be the man You’ve called me to be. So help me to step into uncomfortable situations more often. Help me to give myself away more often and teach me to seek comfort for others over comfort for myself. Lord, I don’t want to be comfortable in this world (well, admittedly, part of me does) because it’s not my home. I’m an alien here. As Andrew Peterson sings, my home is the “Far Country.”