Luke 22:1-46 starts the next iteration of our epic story, The Bible. Our epic hero, God, is making his move against our epic villain, Satan. He has incarnated as Jesus and entered the epic story of humanity. Jesus’ last week of Jesus’ life is called Passion Week and forms over a quarter of each Gospel writer’s report. The Jewish hierarchy is plotting the demise of Jesus. It is Passover. Jesus gathers with his disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem on Thursday evening to celebrate. Several significant Christian rituals are based on this evenin
Washing of feet. Jesus puts on a towel and washes the feet of the disciples during the meal. This act of humility is often reenacted on Maundy Thursday and is an earmark of diaconal orders within the church. Service to others, especially those in need, has motivated hospitals, orphanages, homes for the mentally ill and elderly.
Communion. Jesus breaks bread and gives it to his disciples and charges them to repeat this in memory of him. Even as bread strengthens our bodies to face the challenges of life, we believe the presence of Christ in our lives strengthens us and gives us life. Also he gave them wine, drink, and charged them to drink as if drinking his blood. Blood carries oxygen and food to our bodies and keeps us alive even as God’s life flowing through us keeps us alive. The bread and wine remind us of Christ’s nearness and strengthening. For many it is sacramental as the ritual is preceded with confession and forgiveness of sin.
He ends with the new mandate to love one another, even our enemies. A new command was given and the promise of the Holy Spirit. All these – washing feet, communion, and love are to mark the lives of Christians and are his last teachings as he faces Calvary.
Two people stand out at the meal, Judas and Peter. Jesus lets Judas know that Jesus knows what is about to happen. Judas stays committed to the betrayal of trust. Jesus lets Peter know that he is praying for Peter as he too will betray Jesus. Peter does not understand, later remembers, and repents. Even as Jesus faces into the events about to unfold he teaches, cares, and models.
We do not know how events will unfold this week. We do not know how the Kabul evacuation will unfold, Ida, fires, oh my. But I find it comforting that we do know that God is as close to us as the bread we eat and the fluids we drink. He is praying for us as we step into our trials. Helping and loving others is always a good choice. Blessings as you step into this week!