While reading scripture before taking communion last week, this passage jumped out at me:
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
I found myself reflecting on what I might have said in these circumstances. It probably would have gone something like this:
When the hour came, Jeff was whimpering at the table like a sad little girly man. And he said to them ‘I have allowed my fear in what is to come to utterly overshadow the joy I might otherwise have experienced here and now, in sharing this Passover with you.’
I don’t mean the above as flippant. My point is that Jesus knew what was coming. And it was horrible on every level imaginable. Somehow, though, he found joy.
Perhaps part of it was that he was not only celebrating Passover– he was in fact rebooting it: not doing away with it but in fact deepening it unimaginably, bringing a whole new dismention to it. In his later instruction to repeat that evening in remembrance to him, Jesus was setting into motion a commemoration that would stretch across the milenia. There is some profound sense in which he was not only breaking bread with the 12… In some way that table stretched across space and time. In some way all of us who do that in remembrance of him were known to Jesus, in some strange way they (we) were present at that table.
And the whole act would have been as ghastly as it appears if he had not been destined for reseruction. This is probably an incredibly macarbe way to put it… But it is Jesus living flesh, not his dead flesh, that we take into our bodies. He is alive in us…
And so, he had reason for joy at the occasion.
(This is not to say that I’d have been able to find the joy, if I’d been in his shoes.)