Wednesday, December 3, 2014

War at Supper

Life of Christ 165

          It is Tuesday evening. Jesus will die tomorrow. He and His Apostles have gathered in the Upper Room for the Last Supper. Typically, the head of the party led in the ordered ceremonial observance of a Passover. This includes various psalms, drinks, herbs, bread, and meat eaten at different times after different prayers. Several years ago it was my privilege to celebrate one with a group of messianic Jews here in Chicago and I enjoyed it very much.

          Toward the beginning of the meal Jesus makes the startling statement that one of those assembled there that night was about to betray Him. Immediately a babble of conversation breaks out in which each of them demands to know if they are the guilty party. Matthew tells us that Judas, sitting in the place of honor next to Christ, quietly asked Jesus the same question. Jesus responded chillingly, thou hast said. (Matthew 26.25) Can you imagine the undertone of emotion in that exchange? Judas knew his perfidy had been discovered but remained bent on his course.
          Peter, precious impetuous Peter, beckons to John at the foot of the table and asks John to privately ask Christ who the guilty party was. John does so, and Jesus answers quietly that it is he to whom He offers the sop. The sop was a crucial step in the ceremony. It involved wrapping some lamb in flatbread, dipping it in bitter herbs, and handing it to each guest. The first one that Jesus prepared was offered to Judas.
          I believe in the reality of spiritual warfare. There are examples of it from one end of the Bible to the other. But there can be no greater example than this: at the Last Supper Jesus and Satan sat side by side. Yes, you read that right, side by side. And after the sop Satan entered into him. (John 13.27) For one brief earthly moment, the primary antagonists in history's first, greatest, last, and most important war sat elbow to elbow. And Jesus kicked him out. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest do quickly. And Satan ran into the night lusting after a great triumph. In reality, the only thing he would actually accomplish this night would be his own utter defeat.
          For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3.8)

          But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15.57)

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