Lectionary Reflection for Palm Sunday

Luke BTCBThis excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 22:14-20:

Jesus, as Luke has learned from many witnesses, is the farthest thing from a dispassionate sage or cool-medium rabbi. He is as passionate as the God of the prophets, as passionate as his predecessor the poet David, and we cannot, unlike Michal in her famous disdainful scorn, begin to imagine Jesus being anything other than immensely please with the heart of that true lover of God when he danced naked before the ark. His desire is real; a passionate heart loves a passionate heart.

When he says just at the beginning of the Passover meal that, in effect, he has long been yearning toward this moment, this feast of love with his cherished friends and the students who must carry on his work, only such an intensified expression makes sense, and it is a Hebraism entirely consistent with everything we have learned about the love of Jesus. It also makes sense, or begins to make sense, of the astonishing and utterly extravagant language he is now about to use with respect to his own self-giving and their sharing in it, now and forever.

It is at this point that the reader begins to see, as did the Twelve themselves, that in relation to fulfillment Jesus is here speaking of the ultimate redemption of which the Passover has been a sign. The Passover ritual is now about to take on a future as well as past significance. The Lord will not participate again in this high festive meal, he says, until some future date. Yet there is, in the ritual meal, a sense of sacramental transposition that the apostles will later recognize retrospectively, in the words of the ancient liturgy: “Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.”

It is absolutely clear that considered, thoughtful retrospect is crucial to the realized theological understanding of the disciples, and Luke’s narrative is full of evidence that he as narrator had been all along actively participating in this sort of remembering—putting events back together in such a way that their fullness of expression gathers in a proper register of abiding theological significance for all subsequent Christian history.

Anamnēsis (“remembering”) is thus the heart of Christian celebration of the Eucharist and serves for us to make Christ eternally present to us and us to him, in what he has done and still does for us as we live in him and he in us. It is also propaedeutic, “until he comes” in glory, to take unto himself his faithful and beloved for the final, everlasting eucharistic feast in the celestial Jerusalem that will have no end.


©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.