“And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). In the NKJV: “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you.” In the NLT: “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover with you.” In the NIV: “I have eagerly desired…”
Jesus emphasized, “With desire I have desired to eat with you.” The word “desire” appears twice in the Greek, “epithumia, epithymeo.” It is the most emphatic form of speech. In other words, extraordinary emphasis is put upon the word “desire.”
This is no ordinary Passover meal. This meal holds tremendous significance to the Savior. Jesus is the Passover Lamb. He is the Lamb of God. His death will purchase eternity for His friends sitting at the table. In less than 24 hours the real Lamb will be slain. It is the turning point of all human history. It is the most important event that has ever has or will ever take place. This climatic event will be celebrated for millions and billions of years throughout the ceaseless ages of all eternity. In 24 hours, Jesus will die for the sins of the world. But tonight He is with friends. It is the last supper. It is the last time Jesus will eat with his disciples for thousands of years.
“With desire I have desired to eat with you.” The words describe a craving, a longing, But not just any desire. It is the utmost longing of His heart and soul, the intensity of which we can only vaguely comprehend. In the Message Bible Jesus says, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover.” And we don’t. Until we learn to love as He loved, we cannot begin to comprehend the importance of this moment for Jesus.
It is one of those seminal moments in life. In many ways, this is the highlight of his walk here on this earth. Jesus came to this earth to make friends for eternity. He came to win people over by His grace and His love. And these twelve are the first-fruits of an amazing movement that within one century will spread to every corner of the Roman Empire. But tonight is a moment Jesus wishes to treasure. This is the last time He will eat and drink with his friends, until that day when He sets up his Millennial Kingdom.
How can it be, that the Son of God, Creator of all things, craves to spend time with His human friends? Could it be true? Does He crave to spend time with you, His friend? Oh, how Jesus longed for this communion and fellowship! Oh, how Jesus loved those men! Despite their weaknesses, despite the fact they would all soon abandon Him and run off in the darkness, He still loved them. He loved his own unto the end.
We cannot fully appreciate the immensity of Jesus’ love toward these men. We only see in a glass darkly. We have been given a glimpse into the depth and the height of the agape of God. He craved for communion with His friends. And oh how Jesus loves you today. Despite your weaknesses and failures, He still loves you. He longs to have communion with you! He stands at the door and knocks. Will you open the door and have fellowship with him? This is the desire of Jesus: You!