Christ’s Desire on Good Friday

By Zane Kang, Brookwoods Alumnus

“With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

That’s what Jesus told his disciples over dinner, right before he was betrayed. And though it may sound a bit funny, that isn’t a typo – that’s a literal translation of Luke 22:15 from the Greek. For obvious reasons it’s usually rendered “I have eagerly desired” (NIV) or “earnestly desired” (ESV). But “desire” in the Greek is a fairly strong word; if the context were different, it could even be translated as “covet” or “crave” —it’s a profound longing. All this to say: Jesus really did earnestly desire to have this meal with his disciples.

Why? Why did this meal mean so much to Jesus?

…If you think about it, we actually put a good amount of time into thinking about who we want to eat with. We pore over our calendars and text up a storm trying to make meet-ups happen. We do this, intuitively knowing that meals are significant, and we tend to remember our meals with people—whether it’s with a loving friend who can make us laugh and lift our spirits, or someone who’s a bit of a wildcard who sometimes makes it hard to keep the food down because you’re never quite sure what they’ll do next. And when it’s to celebrate a special event like a wedding or a holiday, all the more so we find that we remember those; whether we want it or not, our minds have already hit the ‘record’ button and the memories are etched into our minds forever, whether good or bad.

For Jesus, this is His final meal signaling his stepping into Good Friday—the day He changed history. The day the curtain was torn, and the new covenant in His blood inaugurated. Multitudes now with their sin forgiven could run and fall before the throne of the living God and actually call Him “Abba”…Father. And the Father would lovingly forgive and accept them; the world would be restored to loving fellowship with Him once again. These disciples here at the table were the ones who were with Him the entire time He unwaveringly made his way toward this mission; they would soon finally understand what He had really come to do, and see the full extent of His love for them. Certainly, a meal commemorating that was worthy of some anticipation!

But, also ask yourself…how well would the food be going down your throat and settling in your stomach, when you knew that in a matter of hours, you would be betrayed by one of your own, falsely accused, spit on, beaten up, the flesh of your back torn into a bloody mess with a brutal torture whip, have a ring of spikes shoved onto your head as a cruel joke until you bled, made to carry a 100lb log to which you were literally to be nailed, through your hands and feet, those nails being the only things holding up the entire weight of your body, the very weight which will cause you to suffocate to death while you listen to everyone who hates you glare and yell insults at you, your life escaping you breath by laborious breath, blood-drop by blood-drop. And you deserved none of it; this was a sacrifice on their behalf—but an incredible darkness would begin to encroach upon your soul as the Father Himself turned His face from you, and everyone who had promised to be by your side to the very end will also have completely abandoned you….the very people, in fact…who are sitting at the table with you, right now, having dinner!

In the very final hours of Jesus’ life…these were the folks that He earnestly desired to have a meal with?

…In these sacred last moments of Jesus’ life—at the Last Supper, and then at the cross—we see a picture of that paradoxical truth of Hebrews 12:2 captured right before our eyes: “for the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross…” Such a height and depth exist in those few words, a height and depth we could never know, a height and depth that only Jesus Himself could traverse. But on this Good Friday, may we ask the Lord to help us step into it, if even just a little bit. Because our God is one who desires to be with us and is not diminished in the least-even though we were the very reason for His suffering on the cross.

Zane Kang served as Camp Pastor to Brookwoods and Deer Run in the summers of 2014-2016, his wife Elisse joining him in 2016 to help the office staff. Zane has been working as the Director of Small Groups and Young Adults at Park Street Church in Boston; he and Elisse are preparing to be sent as long-term missionaries to Japan in the near future. zkang1008@gmail.com