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Lowell Brueckner

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Intense Desire


In the article entitled, How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, I tried to show the depth of His love basically through the apostle John’s statement, “Jesus knowing that His Hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). We noticed that the Greek phrase “to the end” implied something more than an end to a time element, in which he expressed His love. In fact, it described the unending extent of His love, which had no limits.

John’s comment is given along with his account of the last supper, particularly the washing of the disciples’ feet, which took place, for whatever reason, on Thursday night before Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion is less than 24 hours away and He is crucified as the lambs are being slain for the Passover meal. At the completion of the article, I mentioned that we would take up two more verses of Scripture, Luke 22:15 and Revelation 3:20.  So now we return to that evening, just as the Passover supper is to begin, when Jesus states:

“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”   Luke 22:15

What I like about the Chronological Bible or the Harmony of the Gospels is that, of course, they join the different Gospel accounts and arrange them according to time.  Normally, beginning with this verse of Scripture, you would read to the end of Luke´s Gospel, then through twelve chapters of John, in order to arrive at the verse in John, which we used as a text for the first article.

I have already alluded to the fact that, when John made his statement, he then gave the account of Christ reclining at the table, Judas leaving to betray him, and the washing of the disciples’ feet. We would naturally join John’s statement with those events in his Gospel, but reading Luke’s Gospel, we can see that Jesus made a statement at exactly the same time, which adds much to the moment. That is the statement that we have before us now.

This Passover meal celebrated on Thursday evening

The Passover meal was celebrated by the disciples and Jesus a day before the general populace celebrated it. There are different opinions as to the reason, but whatever the circumstances might have been that caused this to happen, I think we can clearly see the plan of God in it all. The desire of Christ is knit to the will of the Father. He is alone in the upper room with His disciples and they are separated from the religious observances of the masses.

It is a time of great intimacy. We have considered this great love of Christ, which is perfect and eternal, a love to the extreme and to the uttermost. Now the Word of God made flesh, gives to His disciples an expression of His heart. He tells them that He has been looking forward to being alone with them at this meal with great expectancy.

In order to appreciate His statement more, allow me to refer to a form of speech common among the Hebrews. The old King James Bible translates literally: “With desire I have desired…” The structure occurs with different words in other parts of the New Testament; in John 3:29, for instance: “He rejoices with joy” and in Acts 4:17, “They threatened with threatenings”.  The noun form is combined with the verb form to intensify the phrase. Not only is that true, but this verb is almost always translated to lust and the noun usually means a forbidden desire. I will suggest, not even an opinion, but just an idea, that the fact that they are celebrating the Passover a day in advance is due to Christ’s intense desire to eat it with them, knowing that He will not be able to do so on the day appointed.

Casual, informal times

In any case, we have another proof of the extreme love of the Lord for His own in the fact that He intensely desires this time of fellowship or communion with them. The fellowship takes place at a meal around a table. It seems to me that Jesus preferred the informal and casual, to the stiff, tense ways of religious order. In the four Gospels, we often find Jesus at a table, where significant things took place and important lessons were taught. He was unjustly and slanderously criticized for it:The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'” (Mt.11:19) 

Please do not believe the Pharisees; do not give license to these sins by referring to their lies and exaggerations. He was not a glutton and He was not a drunkard. To be immoderate would be in defiance of His own word. He was a friend of sinners, but He brought sin to their attention and demanded repentance.   
But Jesus did seem to enjoy mealtime. Let’s blot out of our minds our western ways and be aware also of the mid-eastern customs. Jesus and the disciples are not sitting stiffly on straight-back chairs. To add to the informality of the atmosphere, we must see them reclining. Ah, I like this scene and it adds to the weight of His words, “I have intensely desired to eat this Passover with you.” This is the place of fellowship and communion.

I think the Lord still enjoys the home atmosphere and especially the dining room. During revivals, the work of God bursts out of the doors of the church and fills the homes. I remember that so well as God was moving in northern Minnesota. I can still feel that time in my soul, still see my parents sitting with visitors at the table, drinking a cup of coffee, talking exclusively about the things of God. Above all, I remember the sense of the presence of God and there was no doubt about His presence, because His unique work took place. Read the Finney revivals, when Finney would pray before a meal and those sitting at the table would be gripped by conviction of sin. You can read in revival of people getting together before and after meetings for prayer. There would be afterglow home meetings.

This meal was unique

This meal with the Lord was unique and significant. It was permeated by spiritual force and activity. Ancient prophecies were unthawing in the heat of spiritual fulfillment and it was taking the place of Old Testament shadows and symbols. The greatest of Jewish annual feasts, the Passover, is about to be transformed into glorious reality. Angelic beings, representing heaven and hell, filled the air. Satan himself was lurking in the dark recesses of Judas’ heart. There was the pure Lamb of God, separated and prepared for Passover sacrifice. Human history was unfolding its most magnificent event in all of its unprecedented, incomparable magnitude. Jesus had longed to share this epic moment with His disciples. “I have intensely desired to eat this Passover with you.” It was a love feast.

Jesus had shared Passovers with them before, but it would never happen again. From this point on, Christian ordinance would take its place and the people of God would come in holy remembrance of His death. He takes the cup and the bread and leads His disciples, present and future, to His table. He has set it, providing the elements for those who attend. This is not the ritual of a church and it has nothing of man’s provision. It is uniquely the Lord’s meal and though the menu is simple, those who sit at His table are the most favored people upon earth. Come expectantly, because there is no telling how heaven will pour its blessing upon its guests. He has prepared it with an intense desire to grace it with His presence.  

A greater meal will be served

There is yet a greater meal to come! The heavenly Bridegroom is preparing it and He prayed to His Father: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you love me before the foundation of the world… I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it know, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn.17:24,26). Can we begin to imagine the intensity of His desire to share that heavenly table with His beloved Bride?

“I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Lk.22:16). There is a greater fulfillment to come! This will be the perfect meal and since it is heavenly and we are earthly, since it is future and we know little beyond the present, I think we need to let Jesus, who has come from eternity, teach us about it. First He speaks to His Jewish disciples: “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk.22:28-30). He also speaks to the future Gentile church:   “People will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (Lk.13:29).

With intense desire Jesus is waiting to bring us to His heavenly table and lead us in partaking of celestial delicacies. Having experienced His love in its amazing wonder here on earth, we have the hope of Glory before us. He loved us with everlasting, undying love. It is unthinkable that it can diminish in the slightest.

Still to come:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”       Rev.3:20


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