March/ April -2015
“With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
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Jesus used the word “desire” twice in the theme text, indicating that he had held his desire to share this Passover with his disciples for some time. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “desire”(#G1939) in this verse means “a longing (especially for what is forbidden).” Vine’s Expository Dictionary comments that this word for desire (EPITHUMIA) “stresses the inward impulse rather than the object desired.”
This same word appears in Matthew 13:16-17: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see and have not seen them.” Matthew gives us better insight into the meaning of this word, “desire,” and why Jesus said this in our theme text. In Matthew, Jesus indicates that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven were not understood when they were first uttered by the prophets.
Jesus knew the proper time
Jesus was baptized and begotten of the Holy spirit in October of his 30th year. Six months later, in April of the following year, he celebrated the first of four1 Jewish Passovers that he would observe with his disciples. 1(Editor’s note: there is general agreement only that Jesus celebrated three Passovers.)
Being enlightened by the Holy spirit at Jordan, Jesus came to understand that he was to be the antitypical lamb of the Jewish Passover. Although he anticipated sharing this with his disciples, they would not be able to understand until the proper time. Jesus knew the proper time would be just before his death for several reasons:
(1) “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4)– and again on the cross Jesus said, “it is finished” (John 19:30). When Jesus had completed the work his father gave him to do, he instituted the memorial of his death as a commemoration of what was finished at Calvary, not what was begun at Jordan. This principle is suggested by King Ahab’s comments, “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast [or celebrate] himself as he that putteth it off” (1 Kings 20:11). (2) It would have been confusing for his disciples to memorialize his death for 3½ years while he was still alive and with them.
(3) He knew that the benefits symbolized by these emblems would not be available to them until after his death, resurrection, and Pentecost.
Partaking of the Memorial does not mean that we are celebrating our individual , on-going sacrifice, but it rather suggests that the celebration will occur when the sacrificing of all body members has been completed. The Church, as a body, put on the “harness” of a covenant of sacrifice at Pentecost and will take it off when the last member of the body passes beyond the veil. It will be then, as Jesus promised, that he will drink of the fruit of the vine new with the entire bride beyond the veil in his Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
As Jesus asked the body members to remember him by keeping the Memorial, perhaps he will institute a memorial for mankind to keep in remembrance of what he and the body members have accomplished for them. It will then be a cup of joy.