When the kids were little, it was a real struggle to help them see beyond the bunny and candy to understand what Easter was really about. I always tried to be purposeful in the way we celebrated the Holiday. One way was to share what makes Easter more meaningful to me.
When I was in college I spent a semester studying abroad in Israel. Passover and Easter were celebrated while I was there. The memory of my experience during those holidays continues to make Easter meaningful each year.
The Last Supper
One evening, just a few days before Easter, our professors led us reverently down into the Old City just after sundown. We retraced Christ’s footsteps as we walked through Lions Gate and past the temple mount to a building in the Jewish quarter. Tradition believes this upper room is similar to where Jesus took his disciples for the last supper. Once settled we read :
And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. He took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:22–26)
We also sang a hymn and took a moment to contemplate the significance of what disciples must have felt at this point in the evening. Quietly, with only the sound of shuffling feet, we left the old city and hiked to a garden called Gethsemane.
If you had been there, do you think you would have understood the significance of the last supper?
I do not think it is a coincidence Jesus chose to go here. Translated as oil press, Gethsemane is a garden of olive trees where the olives were pressed to make olive oil. The process crushes the olives until every drop of oil has been removed. I’d imagine Christ must have felt a crushing pain as he suffered in Gethsemane.
He shall suffer temptations, and pain of body…