As I get to know someone, I’ll often ask them what their last meal on earth would be. I know that sounds incredibly morbid, but hear me out!
The question actually has nothing to do with death; rather I use it to discover one’s dining preferences. If you knew you only had one meal remaining, you’d load up on your favorite foods with no cares toward calories or cash. This question causes one to think deeply about how they would construct their final feast from appetizer to dessert.
Ask Jesus this question, however, and you’d get a very different response. As He sat down for His final meal, He didn’t care what was on the table.
He cared who was around it.
In Luke 7, we find Jesus and the disciples in a large upstairs room; unbeknownst to the 12, this is the final meal they’ll share together before Jesus’ death. Soon after they dined, He would be arrested, tortured, and put to death. This was the last joyful moment they shared with Him.
Jesus knew all this, and as everyone took their seats, He glanced around the room at His flawed yet faithful companions. “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” He told them in Luke 22:15-16. “For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
I can’t help but notice the words “with you.” The disciples were what made this final meal special. Over the past three years, they’d been through a lot together. They’d battled the religious leaders and weathered storms. They’d argued, laughed, frustrated each other, and comforted one another in tough moments. Jesus had taught these 12 men so much, and though they were slow learners, He knew they’d go on to change the world.
I think that’s why Jesus found it so important to be with them. They’d been with Him at the beginning of His ministry, and here they were at the end. He was seeing His mission through to completion, and He wanted to be with the guys that had been with Him every step of the way.
While we know certain elements of the Passover meal (such as lamb, wine, bitter herbs, and bread), we don’t know exactly what was consumed that night. We can’t be sure what the disciples prepared for this end-of-an-era meal.
But Jesus wasn’t concerned with what they brought. He just wanted their presence.
In the same way, Jesus doesn’t focus on your physical contributions. Sure, your time, talents, and money can help advance the ministry and disciple others, and that’s great.
But ultimately, He desires you. That’s all He was thinking about during His final meal, as He was spit on by the Roman soldiers, and as the nails were pounded into His hands and feet.
Time spent with you.
Because Jesus’ last meal on earth was never about the meal itself.