The Hour of Darkness

Today we used two creative elements  to touch on the crucifixion.

1.  We played this reverse poem as a bumper before Shane came up to speak. This video from “The Meet House” is really well done: https://vimeo.com/91941139

2.  After the message, we distributed the elements for communion and then the light came up on a monologue we wrote that describes the perspective of the man that owned the house that held the Upper Room where Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples. Here is the script:

My name is Nick. I own a home not far from the temple here in Jerusalem.  Living in Jerusalem can be… well… interesting.  For instance, with the rising presence of the Roman Empire, there has been a growing anticipation for the coming of a Messiah.  EVERYONE just senses it… something’s in the air: change is coming.  So you can imagine the stir when Jesus hit the scene.  Stories of miracles… healings… and even stories of him openly rebuking the Pharisees.  Anyone that calls a group of Pharisees a “brood of vipers” definitely has a death wish.

Still… Jesus intrigued me. More than intrigued, really. Once he said that anyone that believed in Him would have eternal life. No one, and I mean NO ONE taught like he did.  He spoke with authority. People doubted, but I believed. After one of his teachings, I told him, “Whatever I can do to serve you, just say the word. All that I have is yours.” – Little did I know that He would actually take me up on the offer.

The Passover season was beginning. In preparation, I went to gather some water… and as I was heading back home two of Jesus’ disciples – Peter and John – stopped me. They said “The Teacher asks, ‘where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples.’” When they said “The Teacher” – I knew they meant Jesus, and I knew He had sent them to collect on my vow.  My home was available. I was available.

When the disciples arrived, I could tell everyone was on edge.  Jesus, who was normally calm, appeared as though He was on a mission that night.  First, just as the meal was being served, He began to do what is required of a servant. He began to wash his disciples’ feet. Imagine! Jesus, The Master… washing His disciples’ feet. It’s true, though. This King of Kings who had commanded the wind and cured people of leprosy, washed the feet of his disciples.

But that’s not all, nor was that the most shocking thing that happened that night.  When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

It was the most holy of moments. I don’t think any of us truly understood what Jesus was saying, but we do now. Jesus was to endure the cross on our behalf.  In the first Passover, we celebrated freedom from the physical slavery we experienced in Egypt.  Now, we celebrate freedom from the slavery of sin… all because the Lamb of God was slain at Passover – his body broken like matzo bread and his blood poured out like wine… for us.

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