Jesus Christ Our Passover
THE THIRTEENTH OF NISAN:
SUNSET TO SUNRISE
[*** Be sure to read Part One before continuing.]
John 11: 5 -- Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Besides this, twice John 11 records the deep human love of intimate friendship Jesus had with Lazarus.
John 11: 3b -- . . . . . . . . he [Lazarus] whom thou lovest is sick.
John 11: 11b -- . . . Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; . . . . . . . . .
This last supper may well have been eaten at the house of Lazarus. Never does God's Word state that the disciple "whom Jesus loved" was an apostle -- it refers to him as a "disciple." A person can be a disciple without being an apostle. Surely after the emotion-filled events of John 11 and 12, Lazarus was one of Jesus Christís closest disciples. We should also realize that the thirteenth chapter of John speaks over and over of disciples being present. As previously noted, God's Word does not limit the attendance at this meal exclusively to the twelve apostles. Conjecture aside, the identity of the disciple "whom Jesus loved" is not specified.
John 13: 23 -- Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
To better understand this scene, we must first understand the customs in Biblical times. This has seldom been pictured accurately in art or in the minds of Western readers. Those dining were not sitting on wooden chairs around a high table, as we eat in the Western culture and as has been often pictured. Nor would they have been lying horizontally on their sides with their heads toward the middle and their bodies stretched upon raised beds (forming what was called a triclinium).† This use of a triclinium† was actually only a practice of the wealthy class, especially those who had been greatly influenced by the Gentile Roman culture. Part of the reason for the popularity of this teaching has been the influence of those who felt this last supper was the Passover meal and, therefore, a special meal which might call for such special furniture.
Jesus Christ and his disciples sat in the posture of the common Easterners when eating an everyday meal. They would have sat cross-legged upon the floor, perhaps leaning back at times against a pillow or cushion. The table in front of them would consist simply of a cloth upon the floor or a wooden table only slightly elevated.
God's Word states that the disciple whom Jesus loved was "leaning on Jesus' bosom." An Easterner may lean his head upon his master's breast as an act of deep concern, love, and intimate friendship. It also shows that he is putting himself completely in the trust, care, and comfort of his master, as a son would be in the care of a father. The disciple leaning on Jesus' bosom must have been sitting next to Jesus during the meal. Because this disciple was so near Jesus, Simon Peter signaled for him to get information from Jesus.
John 13: 24 to 26 -- Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him [the disciple], that he should ask [ask Jesus] who it should be of whom he spoke.
He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.† And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it† to Judas Iscariot, the son† of Simon.
Jesus identified the betrayer to his beloved disciple. With this disciple so close, it is possible that he was the only one who heard it and therefore knew his identity. Judging from the context, if the others did hear it, they failed to comprehend. Many times throughout the Gospels Jesus endeavored to make things plain to them that they still did not really understand.
A sop, such as the one Jesus gave to Judas, was normally a piece of flat, round, pliable bread like an Indian chapatti,† wrapped around a morsel of food. This would then be dipped by the host into the common dish and given to the guest to whom he wanted to show his greatest love and esteem. [ The significance of a person's being upon or in one's bosom can be found in other places in God's Word, such as Numbers 11: 12 and John 1: 18.]. In placing the sop to his guest's mouth for him to eat, the host would demonstrate to all present the love and honor he had for that guest. Knowing full well that Judas would be the betrayer, Jesus Christ gave to him the sop with full symbolic significance intended. Besides showing Judas honor and love, Jesus Christ gave him another chance to abandon his plans of betrayal by showing Judas how much he cared for him. With such deep kindness, Judas' heart could have softened. But instead, Judas had so hardened his heart that he shortly went to carry out his plans made earlier. What love and compassion Jesus Christ had! Would you give someone this chance who was about to betray you?
There are some interesting points we should recognize here about the situation at hand. The two most honored seats at the meal were those to the right and to the left of the Master. In one of those seats was the disciple "whom Jesus loved." This disciple knew that when Judas was given the sop, it meant that he (Judas) would be the traitor. Whether or not any of the others present heard the conversation we cannot definitely say, but we can be assured that if they did hear, they did not comprehend that Judas was to be the betrayer. Perhaps it was Jesus' giving Judas the sop which confused and blinded them to the stark reality that he had turned against the Master.
In order for Judas to receive the sop, he would have had to be sitting very close to Jesus. This makes it probable that he also sat next to Jesus, in one of the highest positions of honor at the meal. Being that close, Judas could well have heard Jesus tell the disciple whom he loved, "He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it."† The other Gospels record that when Jesus announced that a traitor was among them, that the apostles began wondering and asking Jesus about it. As stated in Matthew 26: 25, Judas too asked Jesus, "Master, is it I?" Jesus responded affirmatively, "Thou hast said." If Judas were positioned immediately beside Jesus, it is possible that only he heard those words. These are details that make this last supper so intriguing and dramatic.
Jesus was treating this man who was about to betray him as a highly honored guest. It was at this time that Judas became activated by the host of evil thoughts that obsessed him.
John 13: 27 to 30 -- And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
For some of them† thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things† that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
Either the disciples did not hear or else they did not understand Jesus' statement to Judas. They appeared to be unaware of the spiritual things that were happening. When Jesus said, "That thou doest, do quickly," some of them thought that he had sent Judas to buy things for the impending feast (which is further evidence that this last supper was not the Passover meal). Others thought Jesus was sending him to give something to the needy. Since Judas was the treasurer these were logical deductions. Sometime, evidently before Judas left the supper as recorded in John 13: 30, a short discourse occurred. That discourse is recorded in Luke 22.
Luke 22: 21 to 23 -- But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is† with me on the table.
And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
Besides the betrayal subject, there is another topic of conversation recorded in Luke 22. Again, the exact time of its occurrence is unknown.
Luke 22: 24 to 30 -- And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
And he [Jesus] said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
But ye shall† not be† so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
For whether is† greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is† not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The words "appoint" and "hath appointed" in verse 29 come from the Greek word diatithemi.† This word relates to settling the terms of a covenant. In context it is used regarding the settling of the new covenant with Israel which will be in effect in the future after Christ's return.
This discourse is especially notable because it underlines the principle of service which Jesus demonstrated by washing his disciples' feet. By this time it is possible that Judas had left. The others present were to participate in at least two Biblical administrations. As believers of Israel during the Gospels, they were a part of the Kingdom of Heaven; after Pentecost, they would be part of the Church of the Body. Sometime after the Church is gathered together and Israel is resurrected, these men will sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. They will also have honored places at Jesus Christ's banquet table.
Christ drew a parallel between this last supper and a future supper which will occur after his second coming. At that future supper there will be no strife over who gets what position, because of the perfection of all. The example of service he gave them at the beginning of the meal will also be perfectly fulfilled by them: in love they will serve and rule and judge with their lord. In John 13 Jesus gave his followers a new commandment.
John 13: 31 to 35 -- Therefore, when [or "after"] he [Judas] was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men† know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The word "love" is the Aramaic word koba† and the Greek word agape.† This commandment was new in quality. Soon they would be able to love one another in a way that had never before been possible. They would be able to love with the love of God emanating from the gift of holy spirit born within each believer. This love would not be conditional upon how they loved themselves. Nor was it natural love. Jesus was telling them to love each other with the spiritual love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This would be fully possible on the day of Pentecost, when they became born again by God's Spirit. This agape† love would be their mark of distinction: "By this shall all men† know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love [agape]† one to another."
After these words, there is another remarkable interchange of words between Jesus and the questioning Peter.
John 13: 36 -- Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; thou shalt follow me afterwards.
Jesus had said, "Where I'm going you cannot come." Peter thought at first that Jesus was just going for a walk. So he said, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "You cannot follow me where I'm going now, but later on you will follow me there." Of course, Jesus was referring to his death, with his ultimate hope of being raised from the dead and of being seated with God in the heavenlies. In reality, Jesus was making a tremendous promise to Peter. However, Peter did not quite comprehend what Jesus Christ was saying.
The response of Jesus to Peter's question as recorded in the Gospel of Luke is quite interesting. Remember that even though they had finished eating the last supper, they were still at the place where they had eaten.
Luke 22: 31 to 33 -- And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have† you, that he may sift you† as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
John 13: 37 -- Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
Jesus had to use emphatic language with Peter. But even this was not enough as Peter continued to insist he was ready to go to prison and die for him. Finally, Jesus forthrightly stated that Peter would not follow him, but indeed, Peter would deny him.
John 13: 38 -- Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Luke 22: 34 -- And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
This is the first prediction made by Jesus of Peter's denials. He prophesied of it while they were yet at the scene of the last supper. It was sometime after this first prediction that they began preparing to leave the place where they had eaten.
Luke 22: 35 to 38 -- And he [Jesus] said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it,† and likewise his† scrip: and he that hath no sword [dagger], let him sell his garment, and buy one.
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
And they said, Lord, behold, here are† two swords ["dagger" would be more accurate]. And he said unto them, It is enough.
People often greatly emphasize the command in Matthew 1O in which Jesus charged the apostles to do without many of the things referred to above. At that time they lacked nothing because God supplied their needs. They had been moving quickly, with no extra baggage, in spreading the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. But here in Luke the revelation is different because the situation is different. The gospel and the king have been rejected by Israel as a whole. Now God's revelation was to take the extra supplies with them, even weaponry. It was nearing the time of the crucifixion.
Despite these preparations and Jesus' impending death, the disciples were not to become agitated. They were to have God's peace and the assurance of what Christ would do for them in the future. This is made clear in this final discourse at the location of the last supper. This occurred sometime after the first prediction of Peter's denial and is recorded in John 14.
John 14: 1 to 31 -- Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were† not so,† I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there† ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am† in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works† than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even† the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am† in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet† present with you.
But the Comforter, which is† the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again† unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you before it came to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
What a teaching! Imagine the impact this must have had on the hearts of the disciples. Jesus Christ did everything possible to rid them of their fear and insecurity. Yet, they still had to recognize that the adversary's hour of success was near and the time of the crucifixion was at hand. Perhaps it was at this time that they sang the hymn of praise recorded in the other Gospels.
Finally Jesus said, "Arise, let us go hence." It was at this point that they left the location of that remarkable last supper. Little did those present realize how well known this occasion would become.
Matthew 26: 30 -- And when they had sung an hymn ["praised" in Aramaic], they went out into the mount of Olives.
Mark 14: 26 -- And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Luke 22: 39 -- And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
They sang a hymn of praise and left the location of the last supper. Each of these Gospels agree that upon leaving the last supper Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives. Earlier, in Mark 14: 17 and Luke 22: 14, we saw that Jesus came with the twelve "apostles" and sat down with them. Now Luke 22 specifically notes that his "disciples" followed Jesus when he left. Once again, "his disciples" may have included more than the twelve apostles. It implies that Jesus and the twelve had come to dine with others and, upon leaving, some of the others followed. Their eventual destination was the Garden of Gethsemane, a secluded garden just outside of Jerusalem. While walking from the house where the last supper was eaten to the garden, Jesus taught many principles and some interesting events occurred.
The parable of the true vine is recorded in John 15. Jesus taught the disciples about fellowship with God and with each other. He taught them the depth of love and service. He exhorted them to proclaim the gospel in the face of persecution. He told them that he must suffer, die, and depart, but that the holy spirit would be sent to comfort, exhort, and guide them. He taught them the power they would have in prayer.
Finally Jesus told them that the hour was coming when those to whom he was speaking would desert him and that only the Father would be with him. In John 16: 33 he gave the reason he had taught them all these things: so that they could have peace in him. What a great savior he was, looking after the hearts of the people to the very end! Thus concludes the discourses of the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of John.
In John 17 is the record of a prayer Jesus Christ prayed after he and his disciples left the last supper and before they entered the Garden of Gethsemane. The courage of Jesus Christ, as well as his love and concern for his disciples and for his heavenly Father, are clearly in evidence throughout the prayer. This prayer cannot be identical with his later prayers in the garden. This prayer is totally different in content (as far as what is recorded) and was prayed before entering the garden in John 18: 1 and 2. The prayer of John 17 emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ had given his disciples God's Word, enabling them to walk with God as he had.
Before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus continued to try to help his disciples understand what to anticipate in the following hours and days. Matthew 26 gives the account of this.
Matthew 26: 31 to 34 -- Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended [made to stumble] because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men† shall be offended [made to stumble] because of thee, yet† will I never be offended [made to stumble].
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
This is the second prediction Jesus made of Peter's denials. The first had been made at the last supper. Evidently this was the topic of discussion for much of the walk. Finally, Jesus very emphatically predicted Peter's denials for the third time.
Mark 14: 30 -- And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even† in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
This is a different prediction from the one in Matthew 26: 34 because the wording is different; this third prediction contains the word "twice." A close study of the denials of Peter clearly demonstrates that Peter denied the lord six times. There were two separate cock-crowings with three denials before each.
Even from the time before they left the site of the last supper, the disciples, especially Peter, had continually insisted that they would never desert Jesus. In countering this, Jesus twice told Peter that he would deny his master three times before the cock would crow. However, Peter persisted in saying that he would not. Finally Jesus unequivocally declared that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed twice. Peter ultimately denied him a total of six times despite this final warning -- three times before each cock-crowing. Peter's reaction to Jesus' final prediction was one of strenuous disagreement. The other disciples sided with Peter in refuting Jesus Christís pronouncement.
Mark 14: 31 -- But he [Peter] spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
End Of Part Two