Today we begin the Season of Lent. It lasts for 40 days just before Easter Sunday. In those 40 days we read difficult texts, because we are focusing on instances in which humans tried their best to impede the mission of Jesus. To their credit, they thought they were protecting their faith, but the reality was they were protecting their preconceived notions, traditions, and business interests.
There are several ways to choose texts in this season, and we have chosen to read Adam Hamilton’s book, 24 Hours that Changed the World. We will break down several components of Jesus’9 final day in Jerusalem, we will try to understand the conditions of the time for all involved, and further understand the path he felt he had to take, regardless of the circumstances.
This season begins with Ash Wednesday, a service where we use language very similar to the communion liturgy, and we place ashes on our foreheads that are burned palm leaves from the previous Palm Sunday. Brad, what do you appreciate about Ash Wednesday?
Luke 22: 14-20 Common English Bible (CEB)
14 When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. 15 He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” 17 After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come.” 19 After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.
Three Points of Discussion
Quote #1 - The Disciples were confused by his words. The Passover Seder was meant to be a time of joy and celebration, retelling the story of God delivering his people from slavery in Egypt. It hinted at the hope that God would send the Messiah. For this reason the meal had special meaning to the disciples; they were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and that they were in Jerusalem on this Passover so that he could claim his kingdom. Four days earlier the crowds in the city had welcomed him with shouts of “Hosanna!” Why then was he now speaking of his blood being shed? What did it all mean?Hamilton, Adam. 24 Hours That Changed the World, Expanded Large Print Edition (pp. 15-16). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Quote #2 - Jesus cut through the uncertainty with a statement so electric it still echoes across the centuries. “One of you,” he said, looking at them in the sudden stillness of the Seder celebration, “will betray me” (Mark 14:18). He knew which one it was, but he did not say. “Surely, not I?” the disciples asked (Mark 14:19)....When have you been Judas? When have you been Peter or the other disciples? When have you betrayed Jesus or denied or deserted him? The reality is that all of us will at some time betray him—every one of us. Hamilton, Adam. 24 Hours That Changed the World, Expanded Large Print Edition (p. 21). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Quote #3 - It is worth considering, as we look at repentance and restoration, that although Jesus knew Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him, and the others would desert him, he still washed their feet (John 13:3-5), then shared the bread and wine with them—bread that represented his body and wine that represented his blood. Despite knowing what they would do, he said to them, “I do not call you servants any longer . . . but I have called you friends” (John 15:15). He did that for all of them, including Judas. Jesus looked past their betrayal, their sins, and their failures and called them his friends. We take comfort in the knowledge that he will do that for us as well. Hamilton, Adam. 24 Hours That Changed the World, Expanded Large Print Edition (p. 23). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
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