Knowing that tomorrow he would be beaten, whipped, tortured, mocked, falsely accused, betrayed, forsaken, sentenced to death and die, what did Jesus do on his last night? What were His priorities, and more importantly, what are the implications for me?
1. He had dinner with His disciples
At this dinner, it was filled with tradition, sacred remembrances and new insight. For Jesus took their yearly Passover celebration and brought new significance and relevance to it. He took the bread and the cup and explained how they represented his body which was about to be captured and his blood that was about to be shed. And now, as they ate these, they were to remember Him, as their perfect Passover Lamb.
He said it was a new covenant. Not only did they have the old covenant but He was introducing them to something new- a new covenant of love. So when each of them took the bread and drank from the cup, they we’re initiating the new covenant. The one where His life and death would fulfill the old Passover requisites, but also provide the new covenant promises of healing, eternal life, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
It was a dinner full of power, surprises, and sadness. But it was a priority before He left earth.
2. He washed their feet
How could this humbling and seemingly unimportant act make its way to number 2 priority on Jesus last night?
They were looking for a King with powerful rule in His kingdom and they were expecting a place with him in it. Often they sought that place and asked if this was the time for it to come forth. Jesus was now showing them the nature of His kingdom and the King. He was a servant. Serving in His kingdom was its foundation. Serving others and meeting their needs is the path to “greatness” in His kingdom.
Jesus modeled what service looked like. He bent Himself, stooped before them, lowered Himself to help them with their walk. He refreshed them and prepared them for what lie ahead. Serving them, touching them, humbly, He honored each and every one in the room.
Demonstrating servant hood that night was a priority. They would never forget it and hopefully would live a life of service to others.
3. He agonized in prayer
After dinner, they all went with Jesus to the garden where He often prayed. He asked them to pray with Him, even tho’ He would go and pray “a little further”. They didn’t make it very long before they fell asleep. But He went on, falling to His knees and even on His face. He prayed like no one has ever prayed. He agonized, sweated and even bled, it was so intense.
His prayer wasn’t for His course to change, but that His strength, grace and purpose would fully accomplish God’s perfect plan. He prayed for God’s continued grace upon Him and redemptions reward to come to fruition. He prayed for those involved in the next 24 hours and those in the next 2,400 plus years!
His agony was for us, as well as Him, and it was vital for the fulfillment of all that the next 24 hours held.
What He did on His last night is a model for our life, to prepare us for our last night. These three actions, are to become the core of our Christian experience. He was telling us-
1. Prioritize family gatherings and traditions and remember Jesus. Share the new covenant- take communion together and remember all He’s done for you.
2. Serve each other. Don’t seek to be served. Humbly meet others needs and seek their refreshment.
3. Pray with passion. Don’t fall asleep or forget to put passion into your prayers. Kneel, bow, fall on your face before your Heavenly Father.
Like I said, these are the heart and practice of every believer. They are meant to prepare us not only for heaven but release the King and His kingdom here on earth.
May we prioritize as Jesus did on His last night and: celebrate communion often and with our family, serve others humbly and pray with passion.
Thus making His last night priorities, ours.
Happy Easter season,