‘When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.’ Luke 22.14
In the Communion Service, at the point when the bread and wine are to be consecrated as a memorial of what Jesus did at the Last Supper, this powerful phrase is often used: ‘On the night that he was betrayed’.
On that particular night – when his friends would desert him, another friend would hand him over to the authorities and when he would feel desperate darkness – we are told that he gave thanks and entrusted his life entirely to his Father. The point is this – we all have times when we feel let down and betrayed by people (and sometimes we might even feel betrayed by God), so what do we do at these times? Our temptation is often to withdraw and hide away, either physically or emotionally. However, we see a totally different approach with Jesus. His reaction was to surrender more; to look beyond what was happening and to keep alive a belief that despite the present circumstances, the pit was not the end.
There is a lovely detail in one of the healing stories in Mark 7.34, when we are told that Jesus ‘looked up to heaven’. It may be that he simply looked up, but perhaps he was looking at a different place or a different reality – taking his eyes off the situation that was immediately in front of him.
We need to learn that ability: to take our eyes off whatever is causing darkness and instead look to the reality that we are loved by Abba Father, that Jesus gave his life for us and that living within us is the very presence of the Holy Spirit.