The young Rabbi was tired beyond imagining. It had been a difficult Passover week for he and his hapless followers. Nerves were on edge. The entire city of Jerusalem was about to self-combust. He knew what he was there for. He knew what he had to do.
His week began only days before as he crested the saddle on the Mount of Olives along with the thousands of other pilgrims and his soul was filled with deep compassion for these ragged people. His knees buckled and breath was taken away as he saw the oppression, the frustration, anger, shame, and hopelessness that had plagued Jerusalem for generations. He would have taken more time to pause, but the crush of the crowd moved him inevitably toward the city and to the prescribed events.
It was Thursday evening. A gracious supporter had lent a banquet hall on the Western hill for them to celebrate the annual Passover Meal in privacy. He knew that it would only be a short time, a matter of hours, before he would be betrayed, arrested, tried for multiple false charges by the Jewish religious leaders and Rome. He would be beaten to the very point of death, forced to carry a large wooden beam outside the city to where he would be crucified and die.
But the Rabbi couldn’t think about that right now. He had important work to do. It wasn’t likely to be understood tonight, not by these disciples. But it would be recorded and in the years to come, the strangeness of the evening could be parsed more thoroughly. His death and resurrection were critical for restoring the lost relationship of men and women with God.
But so was this particular Passover Meal. What he was about to do, his words and actions were so important and must be done in order and correctly. They will understand more in the days to come. His Spirit will make them see.
The Passover began as it had since the exile with a reading from the Megillot, the scrolls. Jesus would have known it by memory. He spoke boldly and with great emotion. These words were personal to him.
Solomon’s Song of Songs. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth — for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with you — let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you!
Passover was such a curious time to read the Song of Songs, don’t you think? The Jews were to annually remember their rescue from generations of slavery in Egypt. They were to remember the faithfulness of God, who had made a binding covenant with Abraham, that he would be their God and they would be his people.
How did that sync with the designated Passover Megillot? The answer to that question will shock you and make this year’s Resurrection Sunday’s celebration one that you will never forget. I will pick this up in Two Passover Cups? (pt. 2). In the meantime, follow me on my podcast, Gospel Rant (google Gospel Rant podcast). I am going through the Song of Songs now.
He is risen indeed!