The site is built on a hill and overlooks the beautiful Judean countryside. Especially on this rainy day, everything was especially green and wonderful. Over the years they have built a country hotel with cute cabins, and a large restaurant. The site also includes a large biblical garden which provided a great visual of what life must have been like so many years ago. It brought to life the terms you read about so often in the Bible – like wine press and threshing floor. So, in spite of the rain that was heavy at times, we were able to take a tour and explained the workings of that ancient wine press as well as an olive oil press, a burial cave, an agricultural watchtower, and a Galilean-type synagogue and yes that threshing floor. It was so lovely and rather fun, to stroll through the gardens, dodging the rain and imagining all of the “what ifs” you think about when looking back in time.
Eventually, the rain became a downpour, so we took off running into the conference center building laughing and pulling off the soaked layers of clothing. Of course, I had left my waterproof poncho on the bus so my sweatshirt- jacket was very wet! Our hosts had set up rows of chairs in the front and both sides of the room looking towards a movie screen, a table and some couches surrounding the table.
Once we were all settled down, they showed us slides about the last supper and invited volunteers from the audience to don robes like Jesus and the Disciples wore and to take a seat at the table.
1. There is a principle of having a right- hand helper. Someone sitting to the right to serve and help the important person to the left of him.
2. Jesus sent both John and Peter to secure the Passover room and arrange all of the details. They would typically be sitting on the ends in order to see to everyone’s needs.
…” And he sent Peter and John saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold when you have entered the city a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” Luke22:8-11
3. The Bible says that John leaned against Jesus’ chest while dining. You can see from the picture that this would be a very easy and natural position and he could have easily leaned back and been laying on His chest.
Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. John 13:23” NKJV(Don’t you love how John always describes himself as the disciple Jesus loved?)
The next guess we had to make was where Judas Iscariot was sitting and why? You probably know that Judas Iscariot was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Jesus very troubled during dinner, obviously knowing He would shortly be crucified, compounded by the fact that one of His own disciples was about to betray Him. Numerous options were suggested, but the most logical place was to the left of Jesus. Why? Jesus announcement:
“Then leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it”. And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. ” John 13:25-26 NKJV
“…. Most assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray Me” John 13:21
Simon Peter motioned to John (the disciple whom Jesus loved?) to ask Jesus who He was talking about. If Peter was, in fact, sitting straight across from John at the other end of the table, his natural vision would be looking straight at John across from him. John sitting next to Jesus, in fact leaning on him, would have been able to speak to Jesus and hear clearly what Jesus said! Because Jesus was dipping bread with Judas, He had to be close. Then Jesus told Judas,…
“What you do, do quickly” John 13: 27.
Passover originally was to be eating in haste, with their jackets on and staff ready to flee the Egyptians!
Because, the Jews are now in the promised land, they eat a leisurely two-hour Passover dinner with Joy and in celebration of their freedom. They are no longer slaves and no one is chasing them. Passover is, therefore, a joyous reminder of what God did for them. It was therefore surprising and rather shocking to the disciples when Jesus, the most important person at the table, jumped up and began washing the disciple’s feet. Jesus, their master, our Messiah was a humble man with a servant’s heart. He was teaching them one more lesson, in order to lead, you must be willing to serve. Peter, as only passionate Peter does, objected. He didn’t feel right having Jesus wash his feet.
We then solemnly shared the Passover bread and cup thanking Jesus for the sacrifice that He made for each of us.
When this was complete, they led us off to the large dining room next door. Luckily the rain had subsided. Awaiting us was another wonderful family style feast with meats and salads and hummus and desserts. Lots and Lots of food. You’re not going to starve on this trip!
Another wonderful experience in Israel!
Shalom from Israel