Jesus' Last Meal, Part 3 (Maundy Thursday)

Jesus' last meal was a Passover Seder. Passovers were always eaten with four cups of wine in memory of the four fulfilled promises of salvation God gave Israel while they were in slavery.

The promise of the Second Cup was: I will free you from being slaves...Exodus 6:6

After this cup Jesus... ...took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

What Jesus is saying here truly shocking, he saying: “From now on, the exodus, as great as it was, isn’t all the Passover is about, this salvation meal is even more about me. So eat the Passover in my memory, because I am the main event of salvation now. I am the new exodus. I’m the end of your slavery.”

Of course, Jesus had talked about ending slavery before, when he said: Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin [but] if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

Several years ago, I was spending a lot of time with a high school guy named Sam. Now Sam was this kinda troublemaking kid who wore tight jeans, played the drums, smoked pot and worst of all...talked during sermons. I had a soft spot for Sam, but whenever I tried to turn conversation to God he’d just go quiet -- until one day we were riding in my car to go get Slurpees I had him read Romans 7 this really wordy section where Paul says basically “I don’t get it, I can’t seem to do what I want to do, instead I end up doing the very thing I hate.” And when Sam finished reading we were both silent for a second and then he said something I’ll never forget, he said: “That’s the first thing I’ve ever read in the Bible that makes sense to me.” He got it. He knew what that was like. And I’m sure you get it too. Cause we’ve all experienced what Paul was talking about.

Does anyone remember that anti-drug commercial in the 80s that has kids voices saying “I want to be track star or a nurse when I grow up” and pictures of drug addicts with a voice over saying “No one ever says, “I want to be a junkee when I grow up.”?

The sad truth is we’re all like that, we never wanted to become stingy, we never wanted to become an angry person, we never wanted to become stubborn or stuck in our ways, we never intended to be adulterers. We wanted to be good people, but somehow we just end up doing things that we know are wrong, things we despise.

And we wonder… What if life didn’t have to be like that? What if we weren’t slaves to our lesser selves? What if we could actually live like we wish we would? Be the kind of people we admire. Could that be what God was talking about when he promised: “I will free you from being slaves”?

That was the promise of the second cup.

In the next post we'll look at the third cup.