When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:14 (NIV)
Jesus loves his followers. As he gathers us together on that last evening before he is so brutally taken from us he has a number of things that he needs to say. Look at the things he speaks about during the meal.
When we come to communion our focus is upon the things that Jesus achieved, what he did for us when he gave up his life for us. For the disciples it would have been very different. When they ate bread and drank wine they would remember a flesh and blood friend, who shared life with them, who laughed and cried, told stories, showed up hypocrisy and loved the people no one else did. Perhaps we should try to get beyond the benefits of Jesus death and think about our experiences of him in our lives and in the lives of others.
No meal with other followers of Jesus in future would ever be the same. No loaf now is just bread, no cup is just wine.
John Pritchard in “The Journey”
“I’m going to be betrayed”.
Betrayal is an ugly thing. It sets aside love and trust for some personal gain. Many of us will experience the bitterness of betrayal, often from those closest to us. And more of us than will like to admit it will have betrayed the trust of someone else…we all have our price. Maybe we’ll even betray Jesus because following gets just too hard, too dangerous at times. I wonder what my 30 pieces of silver looks like…
“Be servant leaders…copy me”
God’s Kingdom looks so different to any other. Those who are called to the responsibility and privilege of leadership need to be able to lead as Jesus did. They need to be prepared to teach and tell stories to win people’s hearts and take them along on the journey. They need to be prepared to love their followers even to the point of dying (whatever that might mean for them). And there will be more than a little work with a basin and towel, washing the feet no one else has bothered to wash. Take a long look at how leaders lead before you join a church…or decide to stay.
“Failure is important”
Especially for those destined to lead, like Peter. When you fail, and experience the sweetness of Jesus’ forgiveness and find that he still gives you work to do, it’s meant to make you more empathic towards other failures…you’ve been there, you know how it feels. Even the strongest among us may plunge confidently into abject failure.
Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Our failures and successes in education. The dreams that wither and the dreams that thrive. The journey to a pig sty in a far country and the return to home and father when we finally come to our senses. The people who receive us and our message gladly and the ones who misunderstand, marginalise and persecute us. The prayers we pray, the answers we receive and the petitions as yet unanswered. Yes, sometimes Jesus provides what we need and more, but equally we need to make the most of the resources we can contribute to the relationship too.
Until the Kingdom comes in all its fullness we have much to do. It won’t always be easy. Jesus wants us to know the score.