THURSDAY (April 2, AD 33)
Preparations for the Passover & The Farewell Discourse Begins
I remember when my wife and I were in the beginning stages of dating; it would take us forever to end our phone conversations. We didn’t have cell phones then; it wasn’t a simple swiping of the touchscreen to hang up. Besides being in love and not wanting to say goodbye, laziness might have been part of the reason. Also, neither of us wanted to be the first person to hangup the phone because if you did then you conceded that the other person cared more about you than you did them. This is not the best way to start a relationship.
Jesus and Irish Goodbyes
Maybe if you re like my wife’s family, then goodbyes are awkward because it takes forever to leave. The reasons for this are endless. There are too many people to say goodbye too and you want to make sure no one is left out. Also, gathering up all the kids and stuff from the midst of chaos takes forever. There is also the issue that some people just don’t know how to end a conversation and it’s hard to interrupt them to say goodbye. I remember when I was a kid my grandpa Tom Murphy taught me about Irish Goodbyes. An Irish goodbye is when you sneak out of a party telling no one. Some people think it’s rude, but it sure is a way from having any awkward, half-in-half-out-the-door conversations. Goodbyes are always difficult and awkward in my family. It doesn’t matter if they are in person or over the phone.
Some of the hardest and most awkward goodbyes have to do with kids. For instance, there comes a time in a parent’s life that you kids are old enough to be left at home alone so you can getaway for the night or the weekend with your significant other. These goodbyes are awkward because you love your kids, but you need to take care of something more important and that is your relationship with your significant other. The excitement of going away for the night or weekend is overwhelming. But it never fails that you will also have some anxiety because you will miss being around your kids and the crazy fun they add to your life. You know your kids are capable, but there is always one last thing to go over with them before you leave.
There is always something that you need to go over with them so they don’t burn the house down. You hope and pray that you’ve taught them how to navigate the wolves of this world well.
We’ve moved around a lot as a family. My wife, kids, and I have lived in four different states and multiple cities because of ministry. I always enjoyed the dinner parties my wife would throw for our friends before we were about to head out of town and moved onto our new adventure. There is always a lot of food and drink and laughter and some tears and more food and drink. I cherish some of those last moments with our friends, some of whom we won’t see again until we’re on the other side of eternity. Plus, it was always an excellent excuse to over stuff myself with my wife’s famous flautas.
I wonder if Jesus struggled with goodbyes like we do?
Jesus had a heap of people he was responsible for and he had to say goodbye in the most difficult and awkward of ways. There was something that always struck me funny that happened at the last Passover meal; the one where Jesus gave some last instruction and said farewell to his disciples. It struck me funny that when Jesus was instituting the Lord’s Supper to his disciples, one of the first things he said is that he won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Some manuscripts say he will never eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Now if that was a dinner my wife was throwing for people then not eating wouldn’t fly with her; Jesus or no Jesus. When Latinas mean for you to eat their cooking and you will eat, no matter who you are.
I get the sentiment of Jesus and the theological importance of what he is saying. The Son of God had important stuff to do, and he needed to depart from his disciples to fulfill what his Father in heaven needed him to do. Jesus needed to go institute a new covenant for his people. The covenant the prophet Jeremiah talked about in ancient times. The one that says God will dwell in the hearts of His people and forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more. What Jesus was about to do was fulfill the words of Jeremiah in his death, burial and resurrection. The ramifications of that altered history forever. I know I have felt its impact of it in my life and I have seen it on some of your lives. I resonate with how Jesus said goodbye, but it made for an awkward goodbye.
*Scripture texts: Luke 22:14-20 & Jeremiah 31:31-34