Those We Walk With (Maundy Thursday 2012)

Title: Those We Walk With
Series: Walking the Roads of Easter (Maundy Thursday)
Scripture: Luke 22:7-30
Theme(s): Fellowship, Company, Friendship, Communion, Community
Stop and smell the roses (22:7-16)
Remember the past and realize the future (22:17-20)
Be careful who you walk with (22:21-27)

As we travel down the various roads and paths of life, we come across fellow travelers. Some of these travelers are headed to the same destination we are, and some are headed to other places. As we walk with these other people, we develop relationships, a kind of communion, with them. These special relationships help to start our own community of living. During their travels, Jesus spends some important, quality time with His followers and during that time, we can find some guidance for us as we travel along together. The message of fellowship and walking together still echoes down through eternity to us today. Jesus is showing us that we need to: stop and smell the roses; remember the past and realize the future; and to be careful who we choose to walk beside.

While we travel, we should enjoy the special moments that we come across. We should take time to pause and embrace the joy of fellowship.

Jesus was excited and eager to take this moment with His followers—His closest friends and His traveling companions. Jesus was happy to and even desired to share this experience with those He was closest to (v. 15). They had just finished a trip together leading up to His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. Along the way, He had led them through some very interesting places and introduced them to many interesting people. He knew the importance of taking time while He had it. Jesus was prepared for their last meal together (v. 13). He wanted everything to be perfect. He wanted this moment for them. He knew what He was going to have to face and go through. He even alluded at the end of verse 15 to a time when He would experience great suffering. He knew His time was short. And yet, He still took these precious moments to break bread with these His closest friends.

In our fast-paced, Wi-Fi, social network, web conference, email, text, smartphone-enabled, and speed dating lifestyles, we do not take a lot of time to connect in real life. Online shopping is replacing shopping at stores. Borrowing a book has been replaced by downloading one digitally. How many of us have more Facebook friends than actual friends? We are not taking time anymore to connect, to mentor, to love, to guide. Conversations are being shortened to quick language texts. Letters between friends are being replaced by quick emails. Did you know that phone companies are developing a phone that you cannot make a call from? It is for email, text, and Internet only. Jesus tells His followers that He will not celebrate Passover with them again. He would not celebrate with them like this ever again. This was the last party, their last time together. He wanted them to take a moment and enjoy each other’s company.

If we ignore our past, we are doomed to repeat it. There is a tendency to only focus on what is ahead and not where we have come from. We must never forget where we come from because then, and only then, do we know how far we have come. You can’t gauge progress without having a starting point.

There were two elements to Jesus’ presentation during His last meal with the disciples. First, He held up a cup of wine. He thanked God and shared it with His friends. He would later explain that this cup would represent the new covenant between God and His people. Earlier in Jewish history, God had made a covenant promise with Abraham to give him, and by extension the people, the Promised Land. This was a covenant promise that God later fulfilled. He has been keeping His word. Now, through the “blood” of Christ, He was making a new covenant promise with His people. What makes this new covenant so special? It is special because Jesus guarantees it with His own blood. The old covenant promise with Abraham was made with the blood of animals, sacrificed for the people. This new covenant was stronger because it had a better guarantee: the blood of Christ.

Secondly, He offers His followers the pieces of bread. He instructed them to do this in “remembrance of me.” He was offering them a piece of Himself. He was helping them to create a memory they could come back to and remember. This was a mile marker along their journey. They could see how far they had come and how much they had progressed by these mile markers of remembrance.

As we journey together, there is a lot of talk about what the future holds, where we are going as a society, the great promise our collective future will bring. And, while we truly have a great future in eternity with the Father, we must take a moment to acknowledge what got us here. Jesus said earlier in His time with the disciples that He had come to fulfill the law and not to destroy it (Matthew 5:17). What is ironic about this moment is that His biggest adversaries were the teachers of the law! They thought that He had come to take away their “followers.” In essence, He was carrying on the legacy handed down by their forefathers and completing it. Through this time, Jesus was calling them to remember their past and realize their future. They were to build on what had gotten them to this point as a people.

John Maxwell says that everybody that we meet is an elevator. Some people take you up and some take you down. Some people build us up and some people tear us down. We have to be careful who we choose to share our journey with.

In Luke 22: 21-27, Jesus gives us two examples of those who are not going to help us along the way. The first example is a direct example. Jesus tells His followers that one of them is going to betray Him. The second example comes when Jesus sees His followers arguing amongst themselves. They had just been told that one of them was a traitor. After spending a couple moments trying to figure out who the person was and never showing concern about Jesus, they start to fight. They are trying to figure out who the greatest among them was. Both the direct and indirect examples are of people who are not going to help us along the way.

Jesus deals with both of these bad examples of relationships by telling them that things are going to be different for them. He asks them a question about who is greater: the one who sits at a table or the one who serves them? While He is directly speaking to the infighting among them about rank, you can see that He is also responding to Judas’ betrayal. Judas was being coerced and seduced by the leaders who wanted Jesus out of the way. But let’s face it, Judas was dealing with his own issues. In an earlier story, Judas was the one who complained about the expense of the offering the woman used to anoint Jesus’ feet. John 12:6 also mentions that he was a thief and as keeper of the money bags, would often dip into them himself. Stealing and working with the religious leaders speaks of a quest for power and position. Judas wanted it all. He wanted the position and prestige. Judas wanted to be the one who was being served at the table. Jesus “turns the tables” on this kind of thinking by saying that the one who serves is greater.

Both the direct and indirect examples can hinder our development and our progress. True friendships and caring relationships are hard to come by these days. It takes work to develop and nurture these special bonds. Sometimes for us to see growth, we have to be willing to not allow certain influences in our lives.

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