This is the first of three blogs to help us as we go through this season of Good Friday and Easter. This week reminds us again of the story for our salvation. Easter Day on its own – certainly a great day - is however, incomplete without the events of Passion week. These events add an authenticity to the story and therefore our faith. Our faith, strength and the hope that we have are more real when they are grounded in reality.
We are going to use Luke chapter 22 and 23. We see that Luke, who has carefully researched his Gospel and written this orderly account (Luke 1: 1-4), starts Passion week telling of Judas Iscariot agreeing to betray Jesus. Then the disciples ask Jesus where they will eat the Passover. Jesus tells them: “As you enter the city a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, ask the owner of the house, and he will show you a large furnished upper room”. The disciples found things exactly as Jesus had said. Imagine what there were thinking. They must have already been aware it was going to be a different week.
Jesus had then during the meal given them the greatest gift. It is a great gift for us today and indeed for all those who turn to him and need to know his closeness. “And Jesus took bread, gave thanks broke it and gave it to them, saying ‘this is my body, given for you’”. This great gift has been received by millions of people. It is a gift instituted by Jesus our saviour. I think it is always a scandal, when you hear of human beings denied the sacrament. It is intended by Jesus to help us remember him.
There has then been a remarkable conversation. Jesus has confirmed that one of them would betray him. The disciples wondered who; imagine the tension. He had then told them that he works as a servant to others and then this amazing affirmation “You are those who have stood by me. And I confer on you a kingdom…”.
Peter had this strange conversation with Jesus, his close friend. As usual Peter, full of bluster, says he will go anywhere with him. Jesus made the enigmatic comment: “before the cock crows tonight you will disown me three times”.
This blog finishes as we travel with Jesus into the garden of Gethsemane. He is clearly distressed, telling the disciples to wait and goes away to pray. However, he is away a long time and sleep overcomes the disciples. Was that sleep intended to remind them, and us, that we are fully human… We will talk more about this, and Peter next week.