April 9, 2009


Benjamin West, in 1784, painted this first piece of art depicting the Lord's supper. He is our first born-in-America artist, born of a Quaker family. Quakers wanted nothing to do with "graven images" and his becoming an artist makes for an interesting story in a great book by Marguerite Henry. I love retelling this story!

The 2nd piece is a very early, 1150-1200 English fresco. As was traditional in early paintings, Judas is on the other side of the table. I find it amusing that so many Lord's Supper pictures have everyone on one side of the table as if they're posing for a photo. And, if you look thru the several hundred pieces done on this scene, so many have the Beloved John sleeping ... And why in the midst of this special feast would the disciples start arguing!

The third art is from 1542 by Italian Jacopo Bassano Ultcen. This is it restored. It was heavily painted over when the fashion did not like greens, pinks and oranges. And then the 4th piece, by Hans Holbein in 1525, has parts missing, the rest of the disciples, and has been restored too. There's been eras of history when iconoclasts rioted destroying many works of art. Jesus' head had been sawed out of this picture and then crudely glued back in. The next pieces: Le Dernier Repas, an African Mafa interpretation, a stained glass in NJ, and the washing of the feet, I don't know.

The disciples had no clue Jesus was going to die. Jesus shared the meal with them, with special twists that would tell his story more powerfully than any other way. Jesus must have played the role of the father in the typical seder, but as he did with everything, he made the Passover become personal. Jesus' new Passover speaks even more powerfully of God rescuing His people in a new and complete way.

The Passover meal became the Lord's Supper. The Passover Lamb becomes the Lamb of God. Instead of just remembering the slaughtered firstborn of Egypt - we remember that Abba Father slayed His firstborn. Instead of smeared blood protecting the firstborn - Abba protects those who drink from His firstborn's cup.

Jesus made himself the center of the Passover re-enactment. Jesus established the physical bread and wine so we will never forget his gracious act of love for us. It's a meal that speaks more volumes than any theory. We participate in his life (and death) for us. We physically remember. Jesus asks us to "taste, see, and know My presence".
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