Day 5: The New Passover
Take a Break
Make It Personal
On Thursday night, Jesus sat down in an upper room with his disciples to celebrate Passover. The Jewish people had been celebrating Passover annually for almost 1500 years, and everybody knew what this meal was all about. It was a feast of remembrance and celebration as all of Israel recalled the decisive moment when God kept His covenant promises by delivering His people from slavery in Egypt. So, imagine how shocking it must have been for those around the table with Jesus when He changed the meaning of the meal (that would be like a politician announcing on Christmas Eve that from now on Christmas was to be a celebration of their birthday…pretty scandalous, right?). Jesus used his final Passover with the disciples to announce the end of Passover as they knew it. What was He up to?
Well, as we’ve already discovered this week, God was up to something new. When Jesus wanted to explain to His followers the meaning of what was about to happen to Him, he didn’t give them a theory, a model, or metaphor; he gave them a meal, the Passover meal. The message should have been unmistakable to the disciples: “Remember, when God liberated Israel? Well, He’s about to do that for the world. Remember when He defeated Egypt? Well, He’s about to defeat the ultimate enemy, sin and death. Remember the salvation purchased with the blood of the passover lamb? Well, God has provided a new lamb. Now, take this bread, it is my body broken for you. Take this cup, it is the blood of the new covenant between God and all people.” But Jesus wasn’t finished there.
Under the old covenant between God and Israel, the people were given hundreds of laws to obey. These were the ‘terms of the agreement’ in a manner of speaking. But what about this new covenant? Well, after Jesus finished washing his disciple’s feet (!!), He gave them a new command: “Love one another! Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how everybody will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.” And with that, the meal concluded. From there, they all went to the Garden of Gethsemane so Jesus could be alone with His Father one last time–Judas was on the way, and time was growing short.
By the way, in case it wasn’t clear, the word covenant means commitment. God has made a commitment to you through Jesus. What better way to respond to this incredible truth, than to spend some time in prayer reaffirming our commitment to Him? The call to obedience is the invitation to fall in love with Jesus. Commitment and obedience are how we express our love.
Make It Stick
If you happen to be sheltering in place with loved ones, why not wash your hands and then wash their feet (and then wash your hands again)? For many years in the early church, a number of communities regularly practiced foot-washing as a way to express their commitment to the self-giving love and lifestyle of Jesus. If that’s a bridge too far for you, or you can’t find a willing participant, find another way to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Maybe you could serve a friend or neighbor. It could be as simple as a call, a note, text, or a gift–just to tell someone how much you love them.
Parents, it may have been a while since you washed your kids feet (actually, it might have been a while since they washed their feet too :), but they are never too old to understand the importance of self-giving love. Help them grasp this valuable lesson by washing their feet and explaining how in God’s Kingdom influence, authority, and power are things to be leveraged for the benefit of others.
Help your student find a way to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Maybe they can serve a friend or neighbor. It could be as simple as a call, a note, text, or a gift. Or you could help them make a cake or cookies and deliver them to the porch of their friend. Have fun and be creative with it!