The last meal
There is talk of my King having a meal in the Upper Room. Two disciples have sprinted to Jerusalem to prepare for the feast, there is a buzz among my King's closest followers.
Before my King arrives at the Upper Room I sidle in and sit in a dark corner barely breathing trying not to make a noise. There is an extensive table with twelve wooden chairs neatly tucked in, one at the head with a towel slung over the back where my will King sit. The feast had already been prepared to await its guests (Luke 22).
At sundown, chatter, laughter and enjoyment fill the room as my King enters, his friends following. So absorbed in their amusement they do not see me. They settle down and my King takes centre stage. He removes the towel and insists on washing the men's feet, Peter is indignant and refuses - then submits. My King is very persuasive. One by one with sandals removed, dirty dusty feet are cleansed and wiped dry (John 13:4). What an example my King is, I have never seen such an outpouring of love.
I am hungry watching them eat if only I could catch a piece as it falls to the ground. But movement would give away my presence and I daren't risk that. The King takes a large loaf blesses and breaks it then hands a piece out to everyone. Next, he takes the wine, sips it and passes it round. He tells them to remember this moment and to do likewise when he is gone.
Gone, where is he going? The group question as I do what he means (John 14:5).
Having eaten, disbelief rises as my King announces that someone in the room is going to betray him. Swallowing that bombshell my King prophesies that Peter will deny him three times. So many revelations in one night I am beginning to feel very uncomfortable. Consternation flows from Peter, and amongst this chaos Judas rises from his chair, trying not to screech it and in a surreptitious way leaves the room. He looks ashen and disturbed. Judas' shadow falls on me and My King turns a lowered head my way and appears pained. My guts twist and turn cramping as I realise what Judas is planning to do.
The meal finishes and the guests depart solemn and withdrawn, digesting the Kings words that he will not share another meal with them until its meaning has been fulfilled in the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:15-16). How I wish I understood.
In the distance, I observe my King striding to the Garden of Gethsemane. Running in order to stretch my aching body after hiding for so long in the same position, I catch up. The disciples flop down, they appear tired after their meal. My King walks a stone's throw away and kneels. I creep nearer at once feeling like a thief stealing another man's thoughts as I hear my King's agonising prayers. The anguish seeps out of his body in sweat like blood dripping to the ground. His hands shaking uncontrollably, gripped so tight that the whites of his knuckles shine.
Distress fills me and I pray, well I talk as I am not sure how to pray to God. Help my King.
From my vantage point, I sense movement, a crowd of soldiers and onlookers marching towards us clamouring for my King. He stands up as Judas approaches and with an awkward kiss identifies my Saviour. Bedlam results, swords clash, fists pound, feet strike, then one of the soldier's ears flies off, blood spurting everywhere. My King heals the wound and without a fight allows himself to be arrested.
I want to shout "No" leave my King alone. But the words jam in my parched throat. Somehow I knew this had to be.
Silence reigns now moving like clouds in the moonlit sky. I have been deserted, where has everyone gone?
The glow of the torches in the distance summons me to follow, I need to know what is going to happen to my King.
As the soldier's guard my King they taunt and blindfold him hurling insults, pushing and poking with their spears, but all through it not a word emitted from his mouth.
I want to stop them, to defend my King. But even through the blindfold, I discern his eyes cautioning me. I remember his prayer in the Garden "Not my will but yours be done....."
This week is Holy Week a time to ponder on the events leading up to Christ's death and Resurrection. We too are on a journey not necessarily to the same grotesque end, but nonetheless to a place that requires sacrifice, forgiveness and love to walk there.
Come and join me each day as I accompany Jesus on His journey.
(Note: This is my expression of Holy Week, the order of events may have been a bit different.)