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Lent - Day 18

Day 18  Wednesday

THE DISCIPLES, PART 1: AT THE LAST SUPPER
 

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


FOLLOWING THE SCRIPT

Luke 22: 14-30
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
 
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 
 
You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
 

CAST NOTES

The Passion Week accounts focus heavily on the words and actions of Judas and Peter. But there were ten other disciples in the other room. In today’s accounts, they function as one character. As a collective that includes all of us.
 
Curiously, Luke uses the word “apostles” at the beginning of our passage. That’s a term which means “sent ones.” It is most often used after Pentecost when the disciples were sent in the power of the Spirit to be witnesses for Jesus throughout the world. On Jesus’ last night, the disciples were certainly not acting like the men who would within a few months be turning the world upside down with the gospel.
 
Yet the deliberate choice of this out of place word indicates the faith Jesus continued to have in those he called to himself.
 
This stuns us, because the disciples had just given the strongest evidence yet of their general cluelessness! 
 
Jesus had just interrupted the Passover meal with news about himself. This annual sacred meal included the retelling of the wondrous deeds of the LORD in the Exodus. The story telling happened while certain foods were eaten and cups of wine were raised at particular moments. Jesus took the bread that represented the miraculous manna with which the LORD fed his people and declared it to be about his body which would be sacrificed for them. He took up the third cup, the cup of redemption, and declared it to be his blood, the new covenant by which God redeems his people. Jesus had just made Passover to be the Lord’s Supper!
 
The disciples responded by starting a dispute over which one of them would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven! Every time we get distracted from what matters most by a focus on our own ambitions and concerns, we step into the character of clueless disciples.
 
Yet, Jesus remained ever patient. He assured them of future communion with him in the kingdom to come.  
 

PRAYING IN CHARACTER

You break the bread, and I wonder if it’s gluten free.
You offer your very self to me, 
Yet I obsess over whether it’s just a symbol.
You lift the cup of wine and I want to know 
Is it wine or grape juice?
You create a new covenant in your blood, 
And I still think the one with the most toys wins.
You give us a sacred way to remember you 
And I am on my phone.
You create one body in one bread, and we let this divide us.
 
Lord, how do you endure your church?
How do you keep faith in us?
 
Yet in your brilliance, you take the result of our faithlessness—your death—and make it the sign of your everlasting, unconditional, redemptive love.
 
Grant us grace, Lord Jesus, to eat your body and drink your blood in such a way that we become more and more one with you and each other.
 
Grant us grace to look up from our lives and see you. 
 
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).