Passover is a time when we think about not only Exodus but also, as Messianic Jews and Christians, the Last Supper.
That train of thought led me to consider a saying of Yeshua at the Last Supper, a saying found in only one of the four gospels, about his desire. From there I realized there were a few more indications of things Messiah desired then and perhaps desires now. And then, also from the Last Supper, we have a saying about Satan’s desire.
What should we know about Messiah’s desire (and Satan’s)?
Yeshua said at the Last Supper in Luke, “How intensely I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (22:15). Fitzmeyer lists several interpretations: (1) Yeshua desired to eat the Passover coming on the next night but knew he would die a day early, (2) Yeshua “would have” intensely enjoyed eating, but will not take the bread or cup with them, or (3) Yeshua’s desire to eat the Passover with them is being fulfilled as he speaks. Most people probably read it as (3) and Fitzmeyer argues that it is correct. Note that (1) is an attempt to harmonize Luke’s account with the chronology of John (in which Yeshua dies before the time for the Seder).
So, reading Luke 22:15 as Fitzmeyer suggests, we can say that Yeshua intensely desired to eat with his disciples the night before his death. Why this intense desire? The possible reasons are not exclusive, but could all be true: (1) because he wished to teach them something vital right before he died, (2) because he would not partake again of Passover until some future consummation in the kingdom, and (3) because of the joy of being with his disciples for an intimate meal before the coming trial.
But contrasted with Yeshua’s desire is Satan’s in 22:31-32, “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
Yeshua desires to teach his disciples a sustaining truth before the time of sadness and pressure. Satan has requested permission to test the disciples to the breaking point (note that the “you” is plural in 22:31 and does not merely refer to Peter).
Messiah’s desire is faith and faithfulness in a close relation of disciples to himself and to that end he prays that they will remain strong. He strengthens them with a meal and teaching.
Satan’s desire is trouble and pain that causes the faithful to depart, to forsake and not return.
In the gospels we find other examples of Messiah’s desire.
“How often I have longed to gather your children,” Yeshua said to Jerusalem (Matt 23:37).
“I desire loyal love and not sacrifice,” Yeshua quotes God’s desire from Hosea 6:6 in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7.
Yeshua “called to himself those he desired” in Mark 3:13.
In his great prayer to the Father in John 17, Messiah said he desired “that they [the disciples] may be with me where I am.”
The desires of Messiah all center around community, faithfulness, intimacy, learning, and joy.
There are two things that seem most like the desires of Messiah: the gathering of disciples together in Messiah’s name to do and be as Messiah taught and the great gathering in the World to Come where all will be fulfilled.
But as we live out Messiah’s desire, we must be aware than another desires to sift us, to break us, to cause us to depart, and make us lose the vision for Messiah’s desire.
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