And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, "Where will You have us go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?" (Mark 14:12)
Read Mark 14:12-16
Perfect. Helpless. Doomed.
From 2,000 years later, those are the only words I can think of to describe the centerpiece of the Passover feast, the lambs sacrificed at the temple. Every year shepherds brought their lambs into Jerusalem. They had to be perfect, without defect or sickness of any kind at all. They were certainly helpless. And they were doomed -- heading for death without reprieve.
What did Jesus think of, I wonder, that last day before His own death? He probably spent it teaching in the temple -- the lambs and their cries and the smell of blood would have been right there in front of Him. His own disciples went to buy and sacrifice one of these small creatures, and then took it away to roast for dinner. Did Jesus look into the eyes of that lamb, His own picture in miniature?
Perfect, yes. A perfect man, without sin or greed or jealousy or violence. A man after God's own heart, like His ancestor David -- a man who is God's own heart, God become flesh. There was no flaw in Him. He was acceptable for sacrifice.
Helpless? -- well, yes and no. "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?" But helpless for all that, because "how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" (Matthew 26:53-54) Jesus will not help Himself if that means failing to save us. His love for us holds Him helpless.
Doomed -- well, yes. Never was anything in the history of the world so fated to happen. God the Father willed it. Jesus' love for us drove Him to it. The Holy Spirit had promised it again and again, all through the Old Testament. Jesus would die to rescue us all.
And yet ... and yet! Those lambs in the temple would shortly be dinner, the center of a great feast for a people set free by God. Jesus, God's own Lamb, has become the center of a greater feast, celebrating the freedom He won for us by His death and resurrection. Through the body and blood He freely gives, we share in new life and joy. He is not only our Lamb, but our living Host -- our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for giving Your only Son Jesus for us. Amen.
Have you ever raised animals for eating? Was it difficult or easy to do so?
Unlike the lambs, Jesus chose to make Himself our sacrifice. What does this tell you about how much He loves you personally?
When you come to Communion, what kinds of things go through your mind? How do you remember and love Jesus?
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