“On the night He was betrayed…”

“On the night He was betrayed…”

An excerpt from Frederick Buechner’s book The Faces of Christ

Jesus knows it is their last supper together and he makes no secret of it. “This is my body,” he says, picking up the bread. He breaks it in two and gives it away to them – “take … eat …“ And then the wine. “This is my blood which is poured out,” he tells them, “Drink of it all of you,” and while the stain of it is still dark on their lips, he says, “I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

It is the great Messianic Feast to take place beyond time that he is speaking of, but he must have had a hard time believing in it there in that stuffy room full of frightened Jews.

When he first sent them out as disciples, he reminds them, he told them to take no purse or bag or sandals, nothing to arm themselves against the world, “but now let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.” This side of paradise there is to be no paradise, and this side of “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” there is to be no peace that they are likely to understand. They are going to have to fight fire with fire, he tells these feckless men, and if it is to be a fire that lights the way to truth, it will also kindle the blaze of their own cruel martyrdom. He promises them no less.

And then they sing a hymn, the Gospels say. Their mouths spit dry, not one of them with heart enough to carry a tune. Their voices thin and quavering as they try to keep their spirits up, they belt out some crazy, holy song and leave for the Mount of Olives where Jesus says, “You will all fall away.” (Mark 14:27)

Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

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