05 April 2007

The Last Supper and Maundy Thursday

Today we celebrate the Lord's Supper. While Jesus was celebrating the first day of Passover with his disciples in Jerusalem, he was also preparing to face his trial, torture, and execution.

The Lord's Supper brings many of the Jewish Passover traditions into Christianity. The most obvious are the unleavened bread, which Christ tells us is his body (very fitting seeing as he was born in Bethlehem, the "house of bread"), and the wine, which Christ tell us is his blood. These elements, he tells us, are poured out for us and for many for the forgiveness of sins. The texts concerning the Lord's Supper also tell us that Jesus and his disciples washed their hands, which while seemingly insignificant, is also part of the Passover tradition. In his Gospel, Mark deliberately mentions the sacrifice of the Passover lamb.

After the feast, Jesus and his disciples go to the Mount of Olives. Here, he prays for himself and his own safety, while still giving himself over to his Father's will. As he prays, Judas betrays Jesus, selling him to the Jewish officials for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus is arrested and questioned, he is disowned by his Rock, and the scene is set for Good Friday.

For more on Maundy Thursday, including the history of the name and Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet, see Mitch Lewis' blog.
For more on the Passover, see Exodus 12 and my post from Tuesday concerning the traditions of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.