What is Happening: We don’t know anything about what happens earlier in the day other than Jesus is focusing on the Passover Meal (start reading at Matthew 26:17). At some point his disciples come to him and ask where he would like to eat the Passover Meal. According to Wikipedia, the Passover Meal is:
“The Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר [ˈsedeʁ], “order, arrangement”; Yiddish: Seyder) … a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.
The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.”
The event commemorates the liberation of God’s people from bondage in Egypt. The Passover being celebrated today will interject a new notion: God’s people are being liberated from the bondage of sin.
They make arrangements and all assemble in the Upper Room. During the meal:
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt 26-28 NIV)
It is a powerful moment and you sense it. While the meal is being eaten, evil is gathering inside Judas and the authorities. During the meal Jesus washes the apostles feet (Maundy means “foot washing”).
After the meal, you walk with Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane where you notice the apostles sleeping and Jesus in the distance on his knees. You cannot hear what He is saying, but you see Him fall to the ground and lie motionless. A few minutes later, there is the noise of people shouting and moving through the trees. Now Jesus is being taken away. He will spend the night in a dungeon at the house of the Chief Priest.
Thoughts to Ponder: Now it begins…the ordeal. What Jesus spoke about during the meal will be acted out in real life. His body will be abused. His blood will pour out from the mistreatment. Another innocent lamb is sacrificed. A new covenant of grace and forgiveness is played out. The Angel of Death passes over anyone who believes.
Prayer: Lord, help me remember whenever I receive communion the excruciating ordeal you went through to bring in a new covenant of grace and forgiveness. I am and will forever be thankful to You for that. AMEN.