FOR THE LAST TIME
"When it was time, He sat down, all the apostles with Him, and said, 'You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It's the last one I'll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.'" Luke 22:14-16 (The Message).
Was Jesus crazy? It almost sounds as though He was looking forward to His coming crucifixion. He had shared Passover meals with them in the past. He knew this was the last one He would eat with them as a human being. He referred to other Passover celebrations in the future but they would take place "in the kingdom of God".
In spite of the glimpses He gives us into the significance of His suffering, both to Him and to the Father, we will never fully understand what the cross meant - neither the experience nor the outcome.
The cross of Jesus - the pinnacle of history and the dividing line for all people for all eternity! For every person, the cross determines our eternal destiny, depending on our choice.
It was because of the cross that God's plan to build a family of people just like His Son was put back on track. Satan's deception in the Garden of Eden derailed it for a season, but Jesus paid the debt of man's sin, reconciled His alienated human race and reinstated every son and daughter into His family through faith in Him.
It was through the cross that Jesus exposed the devil for the liar he is. In spite of the injustice of His trial and death sentence for who He was - the Son of God and the king of the Jews, He submitted Himself to their cruelty and to the Father's will without a murmur. His death spelt the end for Satan. His judgment was coming and he knew it!
"When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." 1 Peter 2:23-25 (NIV).
Jesus looked forward to the cross because it would be the completion of His mission on earth, the culmination of His revelation of the Father and the cue for His return to His place in glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit. So great was His love for the Father that He even relished His suffering because it was the Father's will to rescue mankind from death and bring them back home to Himself.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God." Hebrews 12:3 (NIV).
For Jesus, this Passover meal would be the opportunity to reveal the full significance of the historical event they were celebrating. Passover was a picture of the greater redemption from slavery to sin and Satan that He was about to accomplish as the sacrificial Lamb of God whose blood on the lives of those who believe in Him would protect them from death and open the door to everlasting life.
No, Jesus was not crazy! Once again, in His self-forgetful love for human beings, He relished the outcome of His suffering - redemption, rescue and reconciliation and the door to eternal life flung open to anyone who will receive His forgiveness and His invitation to return to the Father's house and the Father's arms to be a beloved member of His forever family.
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