Luke 22:14–15 (NRSV)
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
Palm Sunday begins with a high and joyous scene and typically the worship ends with a reminder of what lies ahead for Jesus and his followers…death…on a cross.
It appears from the above passage that Jesus had been anticipating this meal for a while. What could he possibly have been ‘eager’ about?
Maybe he wanted one more time with his friends before everything changes? I can imagine that, however flawed the disciples were, Jesus drew strength from them. In their eyes he was reminded of what they shared upon the sea of Galilee as they were calmed and the hillsides feeding people and at the pool of Bethesda healing a man. These people were visible reminders of God’s faithfulness and Jesus needed that reminder now more than ever.
Perhaps Jesus was eager to institute the Lord’s supper because that was a tangible way Jesus would continue to bring grace to their lives even after his death, resurrection and ascension. Indeed, the early church never had worship without communion. In fact, the Lord’s supper was the center of their life together.
Or maybe he wanted to show us what it looks like to love your enemies? As Judas had his feet washed offered Jesus’ body and blood, no one could ever say that Jesus doesn’t love them because of their sin.
Whatever the reason the reality is the same. This meal was the final one before his death. And he spent it with those closest to him. May we come to know the love that was shared at that table and be reminded of the commitment of Christ that binds those of faith together. Maybe we are the reason he was eager…
Lord Jesus, thank you for taking your place among us and for us upon the cross. Thank you for being eager to share your grace with us. May we never take for granted your love or your power.