Thursday, April 13, 2017

Last Supper

Last Supper
“What did Jesus do on Thursday?” I asked my Beloved Husband this morning, as he gave my shoulders a good massage. “Friday was the crucifixion, and last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday, so what was HE doing on Thursday?” We agreed that it would have been the day for the Last Supper with HIS disciples, and that we would have to go to the Bible to brush up on a more precise timeline of HIS last week.

After my BH headed off to work, I did get my Bible and read, both a New Testament account of the last week, and a section in the Old Testament where I have been reading each day. On Tuesday or Wednesday, the costly perfume was lavished on Jesus. The alabaster jar that was expensive, and was broken and completely spent on HIM was evidently the last straw for HIS follower, Judas Iscariot. Judas was responsible for the money for the group of Jesus and HIS followers, and it must have seemed just beyond reason to spend that much in such an impractical way!

I read about the bread and the cup offered at the Passover meal – the Last Supper. “Remember Me.” HE talked to them, served them, washed their feet, and prepared them with such great love.

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On my walk today, the weather was very gray. Very gray. It seemed slightly misty, and slightly breezy, and slightly cool, but just – gray. I was thinking as I walked about how Jesus must have felt on this day. HE wanted to share the Passover meal with HIS friends, but I have to think the human dread of what HE knew was coming had to hang over HIM like a heavy grayness. I would think HIS heart must have raced with panic at the knowledge of what was coming. It must have been hard to concentrate, and hard to breathe at times. It felt hard for me to breathe as I thought about it. I realized, too, that HE knew that two of HIS friends would deny and betray HIM. Oh, how that must have added to the burden!

I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as stronger than Peter was when he denied Jesus. I think I have often prayed that I would never betray HIM like Judas did. But I felt distant today as I contemplated betrayal and denial. Cool and distant.

Thinking about what to paint, I thought of betrayal over and over, to my chagrin.  “Do You really want me to paint THAT, Lord?” I asked HIM? “Well, at least can I do it on a small canvas? Who would ever want to buy a painting about betrayal?” I thought about composition and color and began to plan to paint this work that I did not want to paint. “Purple and gold, for the triumphal entry, and for the bread and the wine. And they will mix to a gray, since they are complements.” But who would want to buy that?

Jesus’ great sacrifice for me brought thankfulness to my heart as I kept walking. “Kneel.” What Lord? “Kneel.” I kneel in prayer at home when I think HE is calling me to kneel – on carpet, with a chair to lean on and something to support me as I get back up. And with no one watching. Looking at a bench along the path, I glanced up the boardwalk and saw a woman coming. “I will just walk past this and kneel over there. I would hate to have her worried that I was unwell. I would hate to bother her.” As she passed me, and I headed to the steps where I could kneel, I recognized what had just happened. I had just denied HIM. Betrayed HIM. Surely I could have told her I was just praying. She would just have thought me odd. But I didn’t. I glanced up in a tree, and a red-winged blackbird was there. He looked at me, shrugged his musty wings, and called three times. Not even kidding.

What a reminder for me! HE loves and forgives me because of the sacrifice of Jesus, I know, but what a powerful experience and illustration HE served me. He prepared me to paint betrayal with my own experience. He lovingly ‘washed my feet’. 

Luke 22:14-18 "When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 

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