How will you be intentional about recognizing Jesus’ work for us this Holy Week? Laura Smith shares her thoughts.
A Send-Off Supper
By Laura L. Smith
Before my two oldest kids went back to college, I asked them what I could make for their last dinners at home. I wanted to make their send-offs special.
My son chose homemade mac and cheese—loaded with butter and cheddar—so cheesy and gooey. Warm out of the oven and topped with toasted breadcrumbs it is the ultimate comfort food. My daughter chose pizza. We made a giant batch of homemade crust, sliced fresh mozzarella and salty prosciutto and pulled out olive oil, arugula, zesty tomato sauce and sweet fig jam for toppings.
Maddie and Max’s choices say a lot about them. Max piles multiple cozy blankets on top of himself each night in his bed, so him choosing comfort food makes so much sense. Maddie seeks out ways to spend time with her siblings. Pizza night becomes family night as our kids all gather in the kitchen “decorating” the different pizzas. These final dinners at home were purposeful, personal and memorable.
This week is Holy Week. And one of the highlights of the last week of Jesus’ time on earth was the Last Supper. Jesus’ last meal also says a lot about him. Jesus didn’t just microwave some flatbread and eat it on the go while walking to the next town. He was incredibly intentional. Jesus knew exactly where he wanted to dine and instructed the disciples to get the room ready.
Jesus also wanted to have that meal not on a random evening, but the Thursday of the Passover Feast celebrating how God saved the Jewish nation from slavery in Egypt. This was foreshadowing for how Jesus was about to save the entire world. Jesus made sure there would be bread and wine on the table that night. He also had a very specific topic he wanted to discuss.
When my college kids ate their last meals with our family before returning to their respective campuses after extended stays at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, we prayed for their transitions and new semesters. We thanked God for the time he’d allowed us to all spend together.
Jesus also had some things he wanted to say before returning to heaven after his time on earth spent completing his mission of saving us:
When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you --Luke 22:14-20 NLT
Jesus announced that this was his last meal with his friends. He explained that he would give his body for us. That this gift should be passed around, shared with everyone, and remembered. Then Jesus explained that God was creating a new promise to replace the Jewish law. The new promise or covenant would not be a list of rules for us to follow to stay in God’s good graces, but a gift of forgiveness and freedom and joy purchased once and for all with Jesus’ very own blood.
The family meals I prepared for my kids were intentionally designed to reflect on our time together and to celebrate what God was doing in their lives.
Passover was a feast set aside for the Jewish people to remember how God had rescued them from slavery.
And Holy Week is an entire week set aside for Christians to remember what Jesus did for us. As we roll into Easter, let’s do this: let’s remember how Jesus allowed his body to be broken and his blood to be spilled for us, for our salvation. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to spend eternity with us. Let’s remember that this exquisite gift of love Jesus so freely gave us was meant to be passed around and shared.
Bestselling author and speaker Laura L. Smith speaks around the country sharing the love of Christ at conferences and events. She loves Jesus, her prince charming of a husband, their four kids, music, a good book, almond milk mochas, dark chocolate, and travel. Her dream spot? Sitting in a café in Paris with her family drinking a café au lait and eating a pain au chocolat. Oh, and maybe when they all go to watch a soccer match, she’ll sit and write. For hours. She lives in Oxford, Ohio where you’ll find her running trails, strolling the brick streets, teaching Bible study, shopping at the farmer’s market, or going on a sunset walk with her family. Visit her website at: www.laurasmithauthor.com