This was an undertaking with deep humility. When the Lord said to me, "Write on the Last Supper", I trembled. Feelings of inadequacy overcame me and I felt as Moses must have felt...Who? - Me? Volumes have been written about the Last Supper, libraries are filled with commentaries and books on the Last Supper. What could I say that had not already been said? "Begin at the beginning," He said, "The very beginning."
I labored prayerfully for more than two months to put together these pages, seeking approval for every page and guidance for every sentence. Visions, directions by the Holy Spirit, and spiritual immersion into the era of the Old Testament provided sure and profound revelations to me and I became so spiritually transported into the scenes that I felt I was really there and a part of it all.
The assignment progressed and lifted me to a higher realm, as I became more and more aware of the Almightiness of God and the unconditional love of the Savior. "For now we have the mind of Christ" became real to me and I wept much in the deepest humility I had yet experienced.
Always, before leaving on an evangelistic tour, the Holy Spirit would take me to depths of humility for two to three days before leaving and I would weep in my submission to the Lord for it was His work, not mine, and it was His will that I was bowing to. It would be His power and His presence that would take me, protect me and use me for His Glory. But this was different. This was a blessed teaching for me that I could pass on to every Jew and Gentile, who searched for truth, for this too, was not my work but His.
As you read, I ask that you allow these pages to minister to you the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of His promises as He bound Jew and Gentile together into one sacred covenant with Him, even in the Garden, in the very beginning.
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. A-Men"
Shalom and God Bless
Joan Krempel, 1998
THE LAST SUPPER
From The Desk of Rev. Joan Krempel
FOR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, A STORY OF THEIR SHARED COVENANT, BIRTHED IN THE TRINITY, PRESERVED IN THE HUMBLE...
Was this the Last Supper - Or was it the Supper that lasts?
When did it begin? What awesome story does it tell?
"And he sent Peter and John saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat."
(Luke 22: 8)
It was Thursday, the 14th day of Nisan, in the year 33 A.D. It was the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the Passover lamb. The lambs had been selected on the 10th of Nisan and for four days the children of Israel had inspected their lambs for flaws or any signs of unsoundness. They had to be lambs without blemish. Passover would last from Nisan 14 to the 21st. The Lord had decreed that the first and last days of the feast were to be set apart and no labor could be performed on those two days. Neither could any partake of leavened bread or have it in their homes. This was a time set apart to remember the birth of the nation of Israel and their deliverance from Egypt. God had commanded it be kept FOREVER. (Exodus 12:14)
Jesus had had an intense desire to eat this Passover with His Disciples before He suffered. Just as God had prepared a widow woman to sustain Elijah during the famine, He had on this occasion prepared a man with a room for this timely and very private last evening.
It was arranged as a gift from the Father to the Son in answer to that intense desire. Jesus had been briefed on the Mount of Transfiguration and He was well aware that His time had come, and He knew what to expect. God‚s calendar of events and clocks were synchronized and always on the nose. There was only this evening and there was so much He wanted to share with those He had chosen to build His church.
It was a large upper room, a guest chamber, fully furnished.
Peter and John prepared the Passover and made the table ready. Soon now, Jesus and the Disciples would come together in this upper room where no one would think of looking for them. There was a lying-in-wait for opportunity with warrants for a secret arrest, but the goodman of this house had obeyed God and they would be hidden from the on-going hunt. Not even Judas would expose this hiding place...
Darkness of the early spring evening had already fallen when Jesus and the other Disciples entered the upper room. It was lit with candles and lamps, furnished with basins, towels, dishes, goblets and pitchers of water. The goodman had generously supplied everything needed for a comfortable evening. He had considered this a divine request and one could almost see him beaming with delight as he scurried here and there to make the room ready in honor of "the teacher and His little band of followers".
To understand The Lord’s Passover and the Last Supper, we have to go back to Abram, to Egypt, to Goshen, to the plagues sent by God and the deliverer called Moses.
The people of Egypt had been devastated by terrible plagues. Relieved that the locusts were finally gone, they were nevertheless consumed with a sense of dread. The Lord gave Moses instructions for the institution of Passover and Moses instructed the people. The lambs were selected and would be held for inspection over the ensuing four days. Moses stretched out his rod and in hours, the ninth judgement fell without warning in the form of total darkness.
The darkness was so thick it could be felt. For three days, no man moved from his place. It was the darkness of the grave, the darkness of death. Flames blew out before lamps could be lit. Heaven had closed it‚s windows and not even a star peeked through. The darkness was too frightening to challenge, too oppressive to ignore. The Lord God of Israel had rebuked the Sun God of Egypt and the mighty Sun had covered his face in shame...
By contrast, the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Though the darkness covered all the land of Egypt, including Goshen, the flames in Goshen did not go out, their wicks were easily lit. They could function, comfort and encourage one another. It was during these three days of darkness that they inspected their lambs. These were the chosen children of light, living in a miracle zone in the midst of absolute darkness, for their God WAS God.
When the darkness was over, the Lord gave the people of Goshen favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Every man and woman asked of their Egyptian neighbors’ jewels of silver and jewels of gold, linens, colored threads, and fine silk and tapestries. The children of Israel did not know it at the time, but this would be a storehouse from which they would build a tabernacle in the wilderness for God to dwell in. It was not just recompense for all their years of slavery, but it was the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham more than 600 years earlier that God would bring his descendants out of slavery with great abundance. This was a treasury; a type of bankroll for the new beginning that was just around the corner.
However, God had one more plague...and this time, Pharaoh would be glad to let the people go. The enslaved children of Israel would escape the night of Egypt‚s final and most terrifying judgement only if they followed specific instructions. On the following day, the 14th day of Nisan, they would slaughter their lambs in the evening and apply it‚s blood to the doorposts. They would then roast the lamb whole over an open fire. They would partake of the lamb through the night, with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread and in the midst of the sounds of unleashed terror.
Note that the blood had to be applied, and the lamb had to be partaken of! The blood of the lamb had to be applied to the center of the beam over the door and on each side post of the door.
These blood-splashed rough-hewn beams and posts now resembled a rough-hewn cross where a thorn-crowned head and nail-pierced hands were bleeding into the wood, turning aside the power of the slayer, and sealing redemption for those behind the bolted doors.
It was a roadmap to the Cross-, a Covenant promise and forerunner of total redemption from the darkness of sin and death. The Passover feast was the road sign that read „Divine Redemption - Straight Ahead - Follow The Signs." All through the 1,500 years and generations that followed, the road signs led the way through the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the prophets, and through one God-given Covenant after another. They knew about the Seed of Woman, the promise of Messiah, and blood sacrifice but they missed the Passover sign, "The Lord's Passover" - Doorway of the Lamb.
The head and hands that would bless so many in a lifetime yet to be, had been since the Garden of Eden, and always would be, the bloody doorway for millions partaking of the Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus said,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. Again He said, "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture."" (John 10:7 & 9)
Jesus, being the door of life, sees us as doors also. He knocks at the doors of our hearts, asking to be invited in. When allowed to enter, He pauses, just long enough to splash the doorposts...then bolts the door. Once a resident, He can minister to others through us...
The decree against leavened bread was iron clad. Anyone eating leavened bread during the seven days of Passover would be cut off from the congregation of the Lord. In the Jewish faith and understanding yeast represents the power of God and all too often there was mishandling of the yeast in the baking of the bread which was disrespectful of that power. Therefore, Leaven at Passover represented sin, wickedness, worldliness and legalism. Partaking of leavened bread was to bring sin into the camp, applying it to the sinless Christ, shaming and desecrating His Holiness, rendering Him unclean, blemished and unfit as the acceptable sacrifice unto God. He would embody sin only once - at His Passion - and not before. God would not allow Him to be bruised ahead of time. The Lamb of God was Holy and would remain Holy for Calvary‚s Cross. The door to the covenant of redemption was open, but anyone defying God‚s commands would face God‚s wrath.
About 600,000 men gathered in their back yards at the same time, slaughtering their lambs and collecting blood. One would expect a horrible stench but there was no stench. Remember this was a Holy sacrifice and a sweet-smelling savor unto the Lord, so the lambs were not opened, just throat-cut to drain the blood and then they were skinned. These were to be roasted whole, the head with the legs and the entrails thereof.
At the midnight hour the Lord passed through the land, passing over those doorways covered by the blood but slaying without pity every first born citizen and beast of Egypt, from the son of Pharaoh to the daughter of the humblest servant. What God had to say here was so important the whole Jewish calendar was changed, and the Jewish New Year would now begin with the month of Nisan.
"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you." (Exodus 12: 2)
Since that day, Israel has had two calendars - the sacred calendar of Holy Feasts and the civil calendar. Today, in the Jewish Sacred Calendar, Nisan equals the Gentile months of mid-March to mid-April. Prior to the change Nisan had been the 7th month, God‚s number of completion. In Israel‚s civil calendar it is still the 7th month, but with the completion of Israel‚s growth, it‚s birth as a strong nation looking toward the Promised Land, Nisan became the first month in a year of sacred feasts. It was the Passover month, a new God-led, God-empowered, blood-covered beginning
All through the night the children of Israel ate of the Lamb that could not be removed from the house in which it was roasted. It was roasted whole and not a bone could be broken. Neither could any be removed from the house in the morning. The leftovers were burned by fire.
The following morning, they began their journey on foot and there was not one feeble person among them. The blood had been applied, the lamb had been partaken, they had been delivered from the slayer and from Egypt, and every person was healed and strengthened. A Covenant had just been relayed like an Olympic torch to an entire nation. They would honor that Covenant through God‚s command to keep a national yearly Passover Holy Communion, but it wasn't the first...
Melchizadek served the first recorded Holy Communion in the Old Testament to Abram. Melchizadek was the Gentile King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. He had blessed the Most High God before blessing Abram and serving him bread and wine, BEFORE Abram became Abraham, father of many nations. This formed a marriage covenant between the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Most High God, and was witnessed by kings, servants, and armies. At that time, Abram did not know he was a Jew, and Melchizadek did not know he was a Gentile for Israel had not yet been born. It was a spiritual mystery, hidden in Almighty God.
Salem was the old Jebusite (Canaanite) city that would later be renamed Jerusalem. The Jebusites were a Gentile people. When Abram paid tithes to Melchizadek, Judah and the Levite Priesthood were still in Abram‚s loins, seminally, within the Holy Seed. Along the Seed's genealogical path to fruition would be two Gentile mothers: Ruth the Moabite and Rahab, the Caananite.
I need to explain concerning the Gentile lineage of Ruth for the Moabitess were descendants of Lot who was a nephew of Abraham and a direct descendant of Shem, son of Noah. So Ruth was a descendant of Shem but a Gentile in the sense that all descendants became Gentiles except for the direct lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Rahab was a descendant of Canaan who was the cursed son of Ham who was the son of Noah. But her repentance was real. Redemption was never meant to divide by genealogy, but to receive anyone who came to God by faith and with faithfulness. In Mary, the Seed took up residence as the Seed of Woman that God had spoken of in the Garden of Eden. She was the first and only woman to bear the Seed that was the Lamb of God.
God vowed this Seed would crush Satan‚s head and that He would be a Savior to the whole world. At the time of the Garden, Adam and Eve were the world and no seed had been established prior to that time. Devastated by their failure and the consequences they faced, they did not knowingly enter into this Covenant with God, yet they were destined to be the parents of all generations to come. When the curses were handed down, even the earth was cursed for Satan had claimed it as his kingdom and man would have to toil the soil and fight against the curse in order to feed their families and build their cities.
The Trinity sealed Judaism AND Christianity when Melchizadek administered bread and wine to Abram, and received his tithes and the tithes of all his descendants. One of those descendants was Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Son of Jews and Gentiles.
When we partake of the Holy Communion covenant, we can remember that it was birthed in the Trinity, pro-claimed in the Garden, and sealed on the earth through Abram, SERVANT and PROPHET of God, and Melchizadek, KING and PRIEST of God. They entered this faith covenant WITH God that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, SERVANT, PROPHET (while on earth), PRIEST (upon his crucifixion) AND KING (when He returns). At the Last Supper, Jesus fulfilled the promise of the betrothal Covenant with His Bride of Jews and Gentiles...He was, and still is, our Holy Communion.
"Then the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine"". He had spared the firstborn of Israel and was now setting them apart for
The blood-bought children of Israel reset their calendars. Redemption by blood sacrifice they understood. However, they didn't know that the change in their calendar would usher in the Passion of Messiah, a new world (Roman) calendar, and a worldwide blood-bought church of tens of millions. They couldn't know that the salvation of the Jews AND the Gentiles was always in the plan of God.
March is the Gentile third month, signifying the three days of darkness over Egypt that signified the three days Jesus would spend in the grave. April, the fourth month, signifies the four days testing of the sacrificial lamb and it‚s slaughter on the fourth evening. Jesus was tested in a hostile environment, and no blemishes were found. Pontius Pilate said so! He was thirty-three years and six months old when He was crucified, and in His fourth decade of years...
Nisan (March/April) is a spring month when winter’s dead returns to life. Fresh waters of melted snow flows swiftly from mountaintops to valley streams and rivers to hasten the greening of the fields, while early rains are poured out to thaw the soil and bless the pastures with bouquets of brilliant colors. In the valley, the Lily lifts high her beautiful head above the cold brown earth to announce her resurrection from a deep dark sleep, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in the land. It is Spring - when all of God’s creation awakens to newness of life, when the sun takes a closer look at earth and warms the hearts of man and beast who rejoice in their deliverance from the afflictions of winter.
Jews and Christians - joined in covenant with God by the blood of two redemptive calendar-busting Passovers. The first, the Lord’s Passover, looked to the coming of Messiah, changing the Jewish calendar. The second, 1,500 years later, was the Messiah‚s Last Supper Passover, looking to the fulfillment of the first, and changing the Gentile calendar. These calendar changes brought new beginnings for the Jews first and then for the whole world, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1,500 years and 1,500 Passovers have passed. It is 33 A.D. For this year’s Passover God has supplied a Ram in the bush, a sacrificial lamb the whole world can partake of. He will be beaten, scourged, mocked, rejected, and nailed to a cross as a common criminal. Holy blood, not of rams or goats, but of God‚s firstborn and only begotten Son will seep into the tortured ground, redeeming it from the curse applied in the Garden of Eden.
He will take upon Himself the sins of every man, woman, and child the world over, for ages to come, becoming the cursed sin bearer that takes the full brunt of God‚s wrath. He will exchange His life for ours, His death justifying every believer who can never again be condemned.
The required blood for this perfect sacrifice is so costly not a drop will be wasted. It will be carried into Heaven itself, sprinkled on the Mercy Seat and applied to every believer who was to come hereafter in faith and earnest repentance.
On the morrow these chosen people of Almighty God will stumble blindly, preferring the darkness of Egypt to the light that is offered. The seed of promise, first planted in Eden, transported to Goshen, carried through the wilderness and into the Promised Land, will be cast out of Jerusalem, rejected and crushed without mercy. Three days later, while the world sleeps in darkness, the Holy seed of Israel will awake in the fullness of the promise, bursting forth with resurrection power.
The first light of dawn will reveal an empty tomb for the one that was slain lives again as Savior of the world. With the darkness pushed back and the curtain to the Holy of Holies rent asunder, the blood-splashed door to a full redemption is now opened to all. It will come with a price only He could pay; of which no man could ever reimburse...
As He had said, "...Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12: 24)
Sacrificed as the Passover Lamb, He will arise the Lily of the Valley, the bright and morning star. He will arise at dawn’s first light, on the first day of the week, in the first month of Nisan, as the firstfruit unto God. He is and shall ever be the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last...
Jesus looked around the table at the twelve unlearned men. He had discipled them for three years and still, they did not fully understand what this was all about. The weight of the world groaning under it‚s sins and afflictions would soon be shifted to these twelve shoulders and, in time, they would be martyred for their faith. Of course, they do not know that yet. Their cross, like His, will not be easy. They too, will have a price to pay...
In the Jewish Passover the head of the household passes three cups, the last one being the cup of blessing. The Gospel of Luke is the only account of two of these cups being passed, the others reviewing only the last one, the cup of blessing that was the new covenant in His blood. In Luke we see the second cup that was passed when Jesus said in verses 17-18, „Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come. His vow to not drink of the vine again until He drank it anew with them in the Father‚s Kingdom was a betrothal vow, and they all drank from the betrothal cup. This Cup was passed AFTER supper.
The betrothal Cup was blessed with a betrothal vow, "This Cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed FOR YOU." A testament is the last will of the testator and is only effective after his death. He was trying to prepare them for tomorrow but tonight they did not understand these words. It was His betrothal gift, the bride‚s redemption through the shedding of His blood.
Out of the opened side of Adam, flesh and bone were freely given for the creation of Eve, his bride, mother of all mankind. Out of the pierced side of Christ blood and water freely gushed for the redemptive creation of the Church, bride of Christ, born out of that mankind.
He had told them earlier how He had desired to eat this Passover with them "before I suffer." Now He was telling them plainly that He was about to die. He was, in a few words, explaining that this was His mission, and the time is NOW! "This IS my BODY which is given for you...my BLOOD which IS shed for you." They hear the words but they are not digesting them. Afterwards they will remember, then they will understand.
"And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22: 19-20)
The Last Supper was a testimony of the fulfillment of The Lord‚s Passover, a commemorative feast for the Jews, an act of faith in God. In God's eyes, it was the covenant of deliverance to come. In theirs, it celebrated the deliverance that was.
For this Last Passover Supper, Jesus had a three-fold mission:
(1) To honor His Father in keeping the Passover, (2) to restructure Holy Communion with the New Covenant in His Blood and, (3) as an 11th hour betrothal feast to temper the sad farewell of a bridegroom to an immature bride. He had warned His young bride that he was leaving, but she didn't believe he would really go.
At the Last Supper Christ offered the marriage cup to His bride. The fruit of the vine would not be shared again until their reunion in His Father's Kingdom. He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father's house and when the time was right, He would come again to receive His bride and take her with Him to their new home. In the meantime, this covenant would be sealed in he Heavens and could never be broken.
This marriage will have three phases: the betrothal (which was on earth), the presentation of the Bride to the Father (at the Rapture) and the marriage itself, (on earth when He sets up His Kingdom).
In a Jewish betrothal, which is as ironclad as the wedding itself, the bride and the groom partake of the wine, then the cup is placed on the floor or the ground where the bridegroom crushes it with his heel to seal the bond. He offered them the cup, knowing that tomorrow the cup of His humanity would be crushed at the Cross-, and that His blood would be spilled. He was offering the cup BEFORE he suffered, while He was still Son of Man, for His bride was born of man and this was His last chance to seal their betrothal before He left her world. Afterwards, the New Testament Holy Communion would allow them to come together in remembrance of their vows and of the love gift that He would give her tomorrow...
Now, in the candlelight of their last evening together He was telling his Disciples that one of them would betray Him. "Who, Lord? Is it I, Lord?" Though Peter had beckoned John to ask, Peter did not hear the answer. If he had, well, you know Peter...a flash of the sword and ...
And we can only imagine these thoughts of Jesus:
"Listen to them arguing over who is the greatest! Should I tell them about the twelve thrones that await them, from which they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel? Perhaps it would stop this bickering...there is so much I want to share with them, but they cannot bear it all now... He had just opened His heart to them...sharing the certainty of His death...and all they could say was, "Which one of us will be accounted the greatest?" With so little understanding how will they face the night? How will they face tomorrow? The days ahead? The reality of it all?
Oh, how He had wept over Jerusalem...
"He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself."
After dinner, Jesus filled a basin with water, and washed the feet of His Disciples.
These Disciples, whom He had renamed Apostles earlier, would soon be transformed by the fires of the Holy Spirit into empowered builders and founders of His church, responsible for the growth and maturing of His young bride. To face and accomplish such a mission they would have to serve each other and all mankind with the same love and commitment as they served their Lord. There would be no room in this goodman's vineyard for personal pride or personal ambition.
Peter balked, "You’re not going to wash MY feet."
"If I do not wash your feet, you have no part in me."
"Lord, not my feet only, but my hands and my head"
"You’re clean, Peter, I just need to wash your feet."
It was customary in those days for the host‚s servants to wash the dust from the feet of guests as a social courtesy. Note that this washing was not done by servants but by the host, the Lord Himself, and it was not done prior to supper, but AFTER supper and AFTER communion with the bread and the wine. I call your attention to this so you will understand that this was not a social grace as some believe, but was a powerful spiritual teaching. One cannot explain away as frivolous anything that the Lord has done!
Although it was never introduced as an ordinance of the church or as a doctrine of Faith, it was important enough in the early church that widows aged 60 could seek help from the church ONLY if she had brought up children, lodged strangers, washed the saints' feet, relieved the afflicted and followed every good work (1 Timothy 5:10). *Note it was the saint’s feet specifically.
Just six days ago Mary had broken the Alabaster box to anoint His head and His feet with precious ointment. It was so costly it was worth a laborer‚s yearly wage. She had been reprimanded for her wastefulness by the Disciples, and particularly Judas, who argued that the ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus had rebuked them...
"Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always." (John 12: 7-8)
She anointed His feet, mixing the perfumed oil with her tears, and wiping them with her hair. She had interrupted the feast uninvited for she feared for him and knew there might not be another chance. Only the Holy Spirit could have made this known to her. Jewish law did not allow criminals to be anointed prior to burial, and they would prevent her if they could...He had therefore been anointed and blessed by a woman who loved him and who had wept over Him as He had wept over Jerusalem. The only thing left to do was to bless these who sat before Him...
Jesus continued to wash the Disciples‚ feet. He had made two profound statements:
"You do not now understand what I do, but afterwards you will understand", and, "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." (John 13)
Jesus went on to explain that the servant is not greater than his Lord or the one sent greater than the one who sends him. (All through dinner they had labored over who would be the greatest.) He would nip this in the bud now. They were clean through the washing of the words He had spoken to them these three years, but they still had a problem with pride. In light of what was ahead, He needed them to be strong, and be there for one another.
He said that they would not understand now, but would understand afterwards. Did He mean, "...after I'm gone"? "after the Comforter comes"?, "after you have matured...? I believe He was speaking a mystery to them, a truth that needed to be spiritually discerned, and that it should not be treated lightly. Indeed, this was no mere impulsive courtesy. Neither was it just a lesson in humility, although that was part of it. It had to do with love, honor and obedience. Sounds like the vows in a marriage covenant, doesn't it? Well...
I believe this goes all the way back to Genesis when the lowly servant of Abraham washed the feet of the three unexpected travelers in the plains of Mamre. Those guests were none other than the pre-incarnate Christ and two mighty angels. Abraham‚s lowly servant washed the feet of Jesus even though he did not know whose feet he washed.
Even if that particular event was a social custom, imagine the surprise of Abraham and his servant when they saw their Lord charging into Paradise to take them all to Heaven. How do I know he was saved? Was he not Abraham‚s servant? Did not Abraham teach his servants about the Most High God and prepare them to know Him.
The servant was the representative of Abraham so, technically, Abraham paid the feet-washing honors through the servant. Meanwhile, Abraham, Goodman of the house, prepared the feast and stood by the Lord‚s table, assuming the position of a servant. Abraham had the heart of a servant but it was Abraham‚s servant who had already become the vessel of honor who, like Mary, was privileged to wash the feet of Almighty God. I love the way the Lord works.... Taking the seemingly insignificant things we do and quietly converting them into hush-hush megabursts of fruit - then just leaving them lie there for us to dine on later...
The humble servant, representing Abraham, obeyed his Master and washed the feet of Abraham‚s guests, not realizing the significance of his task. Jesus, representing the Father, obeyed and washed the feet of His Father‚s guests, a newly betrothed family of God, the bride of Christ who did not realize the significance of His task.
It wasn't just washing the feet...it was a humble betrothal vow to love, honor and cherish his Bride. Tomorrow his own people would unknowingly crush the cup with their dirty feet when they nailed him to the cross. He was the offered cup and those He was offering Himself to would pick up their feet, soiled with hate, and seal the covenant with the crushing although they would not know what they were doing. Even Judas would lift up his heel against Him. Save Judas, the feet of the disciples were the precious feet of His bride.
These feet would be the strong foundation of the Bride, committed to walk with Him forever. These feet would carry forth the Gospel, walking in paths of righteousness He would lead them in. They would bear the weight of the rest of the Body and forever be the foundation on which it would stand. He would be the Head of the Body and they would be the feet. The Bride would grow and mature between the feet and the Head, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, (Bride) unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ".
The Disciples drank of the Cup. To honor them, He would bow to wash their feet, to let them know they were clean, that He did not want them to suffer guilt in the crushing of the cup tomorrow. Tonight he would wash them with water, tomorrow with blood. Afterwards they would understand...
At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to dwell within the believer, He came in to represent Jesus Christ. Consequently, when a spirit filled believer washes or anoints the feet of another believer, they are washing and anointing the blessed feet of Jesus, and the Jesus within us is still washing the feet of the saints. This is a powerful discernment. It is no wonder that their understanding would have to wait until afterwards. No wonder it was so important in the early church! Today it is still love, honor and obey. It is not an ordinance but it is still a powerful invitation and blessing.
Today, even as then, it is the sweetness of His manifest presence that awakens us to tears of joy and brings us to our knees as willing servants. Who among us would refuse to wash the feet of Jesus? Who could refrain from weeping over them, kissing them, and blessing them with praises that falter between trembling lips and must be discerned by the heart. Do we really love Him (and each other)? Do we really honor Him (and each other)? Enough to serve Him (and each other)? Will we really obey Him? He said if we know these things, happy are we if we do them...He asks us to follow His example...
As simply and caring as possible, considering the load He carried, Jesus prepared His young bride with precious promises, confessions of His Lordship, encouragement, instructive revelations and warnings. Afterward, they sang a hymn, possibly a Psalm of praise. Judas had long gone to the chief priests and Pharisees to make arrangements to lead them to the Garden where he knew Jesus would go with the Disciples. Leaving the upper room, Jesus led the Disciples across the Brook Cedron into the Garden of Gethsemane. We cannot go into the Garden, for Supper has ended and the Garden is another story.
The Lord’s Passover Supper tied Judaism and Christianity together in a fisherman’s knot. Soon to be called Christians, these Jewish Disciples, following a Jewish Messiah, observed a Jewish Passover and participated in a newly instituted Christian Sacrament that Jews and Gentiles the world over would observe. Unbelieving Jews would still look at Passover which, blinded to them, looked to Calvary. Believing Jews and Gentiles would now look beyond Calvary, to the Holy Communion that represents a Risen Lord...
They did partake of the Lamb, the Bread of Life and the Blood, but they did it from two different perspectives. In Passover they looked to the memorial of a past redemption, in the new Sacrament they looked to an eternal redemption, not realizing at that time that the new was a fulfillment of the old. It would be their mission to proclaim it, explain it, and testify of its validity. John the Baptist had recognized it when he introduced Jesus to the world with the shout of acclamation, "Behold, the Lamb of God".
The road signs along the way had been numerous. I will mention only a few familiar ones...
Abram, who became Abraham, received the long-awaited promise of his son with Sarah just nine months after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the supper in which the servant washed the feet of the pre-incarnate Christ. He had waited 25 years for the promised heir, waiting in faith and faithful perseverance as a servant to God and the goodman of God‚s blessings upon him. His faithfulness, his faith, his covenant with God ushered in Isaac, Israel, the throne of David, Messiah, and Christianity, with renewed reconciliation of man with God. Abraham waited 25 years for his promised heir; God would wait about 2,100 years from Ur to Bethlehem for the promise of His heir.
When Isaac was a lad, Abraham was instructed,
"Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22: 2)
In verse 6 we read where Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it upon the shoulders of Isaac, his son, (a forerunner of Christ carrying his cross) while Abraham (type of the Father) carried the fire and the knife and they went forward together. When Isaac asked where the lamb was for the sacrifice, Abraham prophesied "God [will] provide HIMSELF a lamb for the burnt offering.
At the site of the sacrifice, when Isaac learned that he was to be the "lamb", he submitted to the will of his father, Abraham, and allowed himself to be bound to the wood and laid on the altar of sacrifice. Abraham knew the covenant of promise would not fail. God had said that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed and through Isaac his descendents would come. If God required him as a sacrifice, God was able to raise him up again to fulfill the promise.
Abraham trusted God, raised the knife, and just as he was about to plunge it into Isaac's heart, the Angel of the Lord called out of Heaven and stopped him. "Do not hurt the lad", the angel said. "Fornow I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me". Abraham had fulfilled his part of the covenant and now God could proceed legally to fulfill his.
In this fulfillment, Jesus submitted to His Father and allowed himself to be nailed to a cross, the ultimate altar of sacrifice, only this time the knife was not stayed. In Jesus, God had provided the ultimate ram in the bush whereby all men might be saved.
Jesus had become the sin bearer, the offense of every conceivable sin that filled the nostrils of God with stench. The Holiness of God cannot look upon such sin and so the sin bearer descended into Hell. He died in our place, inherited Hell in our place, suffered the Wrath of God in our place, and on the third day God said, "Enough!"
The Holy Spirit charged into Hell and revived this weakened and mocked Son of God. With renewed strength the redeemed sin bearer rose to his feet as the Christ and broke asunder the chains of death. Having crushed the power of sin by way of the cross, he grabbed the keys of hell and death from Satan, making an open show of his enemy, then burst into the borrowed tomb where he raised Himself alive in victorious resurrection. He had told the Disciples, „I have power to lay it down, (His life) and power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father. The second Person of the Trinity had kept His Word and the world would never again be the same...
Abraham had entered a blood covenant with God. In a blood covenant, both parties agree through the shedding of blood and if one defaults he has to die. Abraham had shed his blood through the circumcision, which was in reality a flesh and blood covenant. The sacrificed bloody flesh was pierced, cut, torn, bruised and cast to the ground, leaving the covenant keeper sore and in pain for three days. As Abraham's covenant partner, when did God shed His blood? When did He bruise His flesh? At the cross...where the flesh of God the Son was pierced, cut, torn, bruised and cast into the grave for three days...
Abraham represented the redeemed of the ages in a prosperous relationship with the Father. He represented our failings, trials and altars of repentance, building a trail of altars that was his answer to a trail of trials. If faithful Abraham had seen the full screen of the covenant promise he would have crumpled and wept over the trials that faced his descendants, the desolation of their temples, the stubborn pride of the masses and the years of captivity in Goshen, Babylon, at the hands of Syria and finally, the Romans. He would have cried out in horror at the deeds of evil kings, the groves of heathen gods, and the slaughtering of innocent children.
Mercifully, God only reveals to His servants as much as they can bear and then moves on to the next step in the next vessel of faith in the next generation. Vessels of faith plant seed into the Promise that they do not understand, but in obedience they are the planters that move the Promise along to fulfillment. Abraham was such a planter, the prime example of the righteous sowing seed so the unrighteous can become righteous in generations to come. Such seeds of faith become vineyards and "whosoever will" can taste of its fruit.
Jesus told His disciples He would return for His own as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is coming for those who are watching for Him, expecting Him, and keeping faith with the signs of the times as He prophesied they would be.
He is the secret place of the Most High in Psalm 91, the rock on which we stand and from which living waters flow (Numbers 20:8), the cleft in which we are hidden, the vine from which we grow and are nourished.
He is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53, the Passover Lamb, Holy Communion and the Supper that lasts forever...He had visited the children in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion‚s den, and Jacob in the struggle at Jabbok where Jacob became Israel. He has always been a deliverer, a Savior, an ever-present help in time of trouble. I cannot understand how they failed to recognize Him when He was on the Cross, on the feast of Passover, with a bleeding head and bleeding hands, and a cross that resembled the door lentil and the side posts of Goshen.
But alas, the Jews had been looking for a militant Messiah who would destroy their enemies and set up his kingdom in Jerusalem and be their king forever. He came instead as one of them, a Son of Man who bowed to the Son of God that He was. He didn't come to be served, but to serve, to give His life a ransom for all sheep everywhere. He was not a puffed-up, holier-than-thou theologian. He was not unreachable or untouchable. He was the Good Shepherd who walked AMONG the sheep, laid down his head in the midst of the sheep and ministered to their needs. He came in authority but He also came in humility. He was everything they did not expect, and they expected everything He was not ready to be.
THE JOY OF HOLY COMMUNION
The Table of Holy Communion is a banquet of celebration. We are advised to be clothed in His righteousness when we attend it. Remember that the Celebrant lives within you and you are therefore "bone of his bone" and "flesh of his flesh". If your heart is open to Him and your spirit is in tune with His, you will find the Communion to be holy, joyous and intimate.
Holy Communion is not just a symbolic eating and drinking in remembrance of Him. We acknowledged His sacrifice when we accepted Him as Lord and Savior and received the covering of His blood and the sealing of our redemption. Rather, it is a meshing of spirits, His and ours, and a meshing of sacrifices - His sacrifice of love, and ours of honor. In the Holy Scriptures, husbands are encouraged to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and wives are encouraged to honor their husbands. This is what happens when we come to the Table.
It is a Table of dual blessings, a table of two guests - you are His and He is yours. You come to the Table together, each receiving the other with love and honor. Your coming to the Table in faith blesses Him. Partaking of Him blesses you. Joining with Him, wearing His betrothal gift of righteousness with an honoring heart, you become one with the gift and the giver, a spiritual oneness that humbles the most stout of hearts. Holy Communion is a portrait of love, of giving and receiving, of loving and being loved.
As we receive the Holy Communion that IS our Lord and Savior, our bridegroom, we must come together, each one inviting Him to join us as we honor Him in our betrothal to Him and His betrothal gift to us. And we must renew our own commitment to love, honor and obey as we partake of the Bread of His Presence and the marriage cup. Mouthing the words of a ritual prayer will not suffice. Remember, you are extending a personal invitation to your King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and this invitation must be engraved with anticipation upon your heart...
Afterwards we want to obey Him with the observance of the second stage of that betrothal. We will wash the saints’ feet, and be washed, and join Him in this also. As He said, 'If we know these things, and do them, happy we will be..."
He is always ready to join us in our Happy Hour. So partake of the table, the Bread that satisfies, and be healed. Pick up the betrothal cup, drink of its wine and rejoice, for we are our Beloved‚s, and His desire is toward us (Song of Solomon). Then join in the washing of the saints‚ feet and the feet of Jesus as He faithfully acknowledges our obedience by accepting our invitation.
In Leviticus Chapters 23 and 24 they used both unleavened and leavened bread in their feasts as commanded by God. Today, leavened bread symbolizes a "rising up" as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who abolished the power of sin. We celebrate the blessed feet of the Savior who walks with us and within us, causing us to walk in Holiness with Him.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bringeth good tidings...." (Isaiah 52:7)
"Our feet shall stand within thy gates, Oh Jerusalem." (Psalms 122: 2)
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