Dinner With Friends

The story of love brings Jesus into close confrontation with the ones who feel threatened by His presence.  None of it is accidental, because the Creator has planned this from the beginning.  He arrives in a grand parade of palm branches and Hosannas on Sunday, but by the end of the week, it’s time to be quiet.  To rest and prepare for what is to happen.

Part Four: Dinner With Friends

So Jesus celebrates the deliverance from Egypt, Passover, with his closest friends in a secluded room.  There, He is surrounded by the ones who know Him best.  As He watches His closest companions eating and drinking together, perhaps He wonders if they will ever truly understand.

He has tried, at various times during their three years together, to reveal the truth.  He made clear that He was the promised One.  He used the same words to describe Himself as the One who had spoken to Moses in the burning bush.  He did wonders and miracles and stood up for the oppressed and the hungry, the outcast and forgotten.  He had also said, more than once, that He was going to be handed over to His enemies and killed.

But even those closest to Him could not accept Him as a man of sorrows and suffering.  And so, one last time, as the moment drew closer, He tries again to help them understand what as about to happen.

“I will be with you only a little longer,” He says. “Where I am going–you cannot come.”

When they ask where He is going, His answer is surprising.  Perhaps a smile plays on the corner of His mouth, but His heart is clearly heavy.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God–trust also in me.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.”

He knows they don’t understand.  He knows they can’t begin to comprehend that this is nearly the culmination of a story that began before their forefathers walked the planet.

 “Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief,” He says.  “In this world, you will have trouble,” He acknowledges.  “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

In this moment, He speaks profound words of comfort.  Before they are needed, He looks to their hearts and reminds them that He is, indeed, who He says He is.

“Father, the time has come,” He says.

God waited until this moment to reveal His masterpiece.  Everything that had come before was just a prelude.  Like an orchestra waiting for the conductor’s signal, all of heaven paused.

The entire cosmos holds its breath as the next act begins with a terrible night of betrayal.

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