“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15
I usually like to keep this fact about myself a secret: I was a music major in college. There, I said it! But the reason I don’t want anyone to know this is because I don’t want to be asked to play for anything! If there was one thing that caused me more stress during school, it was a piano recital!
Ask my husband, my parents or my college roommates and they will agree with me when I say that you would not have wanted to be around me as the time for a recital drew near. I spent weeks dreading these single events. And with each passing day, my stomach churned, my thoughts were scattered and my mood was up and down like the world’s largest roller coaster! I even dreaded events that happened near the date of the recitals because I knew when those were over, it would be time for the dreaded event. As much as I loved learning about music, listening to music and even playing the piano on my own, I downright hated recitals with a passion! I sure didn’t handle the stress and dread of these situations well at all. But in the end, I would hardly call a music recital true suffering.
As I learn more about our sweet Jesus, I am truly amazed by him! Here he is, celebrating the Passover just hours before his trial and crucifixion, and he says he has “eagerly desired” this Passover meal! I was wondering what the original language would have said for this phrase “eagerly desired” and found out that “eagerly” means “to long for, to covet.” “Desired” was explained as, “(in context where the desire is positive), coveting, craving.”
So here is Jesus, coveting this meal, positively desiring and craving this single moment. And in the midst, he is completely mindful of the events about to happen. In his presence is Judas who is about to completely destroy any relationship they shared. He shares this moment with a group of weak men that are about to turn their backs on him out of fear for their own lives. He is completely aware of the physical suffering that his body will endure. He has knowledge of the horrible, indescribable separation from his heavenly Father that would take place and the unbearable burden of taking on all the sin of this world. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend the dread he must have suffered. And yet, he craved this moment.
Did you get that? He coveted…longed for…desired this moment just hours before all the horrible events were to take place! Evil and weakness swirled all around him in that room and yet he desired this very occasion. I can only think of two reasons he was able to eagerly enjoy the Passover meal. First of all, he was focused on the grand scheme of things. He didn’t think about the hours of suffering right before him; he focused on the eternity of glory and worship that would unfold in the end. Second, he enjoyed this moment because he deeply loves you and me! He was excited for us because he knew all of history was changing, prophecy was being fulfilled and death was going to be defeated all because he loves each of us!
Oh how I wish I were more like him! I am deeply thankful I live on this side of the cross so we can learn from his life and apply his wisdom to our own lives. I am thankful he was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15) so that he can sympathize with our weakness. He understands our dread. He knows our worries. Yet all we have to do is focus on him and the grand scheme of life. And only then will our problems fade in all His glory! And who knows, we might just begin to eagerly desire those hard yet precious moments!