YAD- Hashmona -Memorial To The Eight

A beautiful and interesting stop today was to a real communal village- like a kibbutz but families also can work outside of the village, while contributing a portion of their income to the running of the village. It was started by a small group of Finnish believers who had come to Israel as volunteers to help the Jewish people who were returning from around the world to their new homeland. These Finns were believers who loved Jesus and felt compelled to honor 8 Jews who had been turned over to the Nazi’s during World War II by Finland. This, of course, ended tragically for the 8.

The site is built on a hill and overlooks the beautiful Judean countryside. Especially on this rainy day, everything was especially green and wonderful. Over the years they have built a country hotel with cute cabins, and a large restaurant. The site also includes a large biblical garden which provided a great visual of what life must have been like so many years ago. It brought to life the terms you read about so often in the Bible – like wine press and threshing floor. So, in spite of the rain that was heavy at times, we were able to take a tour and explained the workings of that ancient wine press as well as an olive oil press, a burial cave, an agricultural watchtower, and a Galilean-type synagogue and yes that threshing floor. It was so lovely and rather fun, to stroll through the gardens, dodging the rain and imagining all of the “what ifs” you think about when looking back in time.


Eventually, the rain became a downpour, so we took off running into the conference center building laughing and pulling off the soaked layers of clothing. Of course, I had left my waterproof poncho on the bus so my sweatshirt- jacket was very wet! Our hosts had set up rows of chairs in the front and both sides of the room looking towards a movie screen, a table and some couches surrounding the table.

Once we were all settled down, they showed us slides about the last supper and invited volunteers from the audience to don robes like Jesus and the Disciples wore and to take a seat at the table.


It was a square table with low-backless couches- like long ottomans on three sides of the table. The front was left open. They had the volunteers sit as the people of the time sat and dined, reclining with the left elbow/arm leaning on the table, facing to the right with their legs outstretched, almost – but not quite laying down. They would use their right hand to eat. The original meal was very simple. Unleavened bread for 7 days, meat and bitter herbs accompanied by bread, olive oil and the fruit of the vine. In those days, those dining would share the bread, the olive oil for dipping the bread and other food rather than each having their own servings. 

Our host informed us that the most important person would typically sit on the left side towards the front of the table. So, he then asked us based on this information where did we think Jesus would be sitting? Obviously, we all said the front left seat. Wrong. They speculate – and only speculate, that Jesus would have been sitting at the second left position and that John would be sitting in the first seat. Why? For several reasons: 


1. There is a principle of having a right- hand helper. Someone sitting to the right to serve and help the important person to the left of him.

2. Jesus sent both John and Peter to secure the Passover room and arrange all of the details. They would typically be sitting on the ends in order to see to everyone’s needs.
…” And he sent Peter and John saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold when you have entered the city a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” Luke22:8-11

3. The Bible says that John leaned against Jesus’ chest while dining. You can see from the picture that this would be a very easy and natural position and he could have easily leaned back and been laying on His chest.
Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. John 13:23” NKJV(Don’t you love how John always describes himself as the disciple Jesus loved?)

The next guess we had to make was where Judas Iscariot was sitting and why? You probably know that Judas Iscariot was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Jesus very troubled during dinner, obviously knowing He would shortly be crucified, compounded by the fact that one of His own disciples was about to betray Him. Numerous options were suggested, but the most logical place was to the left of Jesus. Why? Jesus announcement:
“Then leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it”. And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. ” John 13:25-26 NKJV
“…. Most assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray Me” John 13:21

Simon Peter motioned to John (the disciple whom Jesus loved😊) to ask Jesus who He was talking about. If Peter was, in fact, sitting straight across from John at the other end of the table, his natural vision would be looking straight at John across from him. John sitting next to Jesus, in fact leaning on him, would have been able to speak to Jesus and hear clearly what Jesus said! Because Jesus was dipping bread with Judas, He had to be close. Then Jesus told Judas,…
“What you do, do quickly” John 13: 27.
How sad!

Passover originally was to be eating in haste, with their jackets on and staff ready to flee the Egyptians! 

Because, the Jews are now in the promised land, they eat a leisurely two-hour Passover dinner with Joy and in celebration of their freedom. They are no longer slaves and no one is chasing them. Passover is, therefore, a joyous reminder of what God did for them. It was therefore surprising and rather shocking to the disciples when Jesus, the most important person at the table, jumped up and began washing the disciple’s feet. Jesus, their master, our Messiah was a humble man with a servant’s heart. He was teaching them one more lesson, in order to lead, you must be willing to serve. Peter, as only passionate Peter does, objected. He didn’t feel right having Jesus wash his feet. 



“You shall never wash my feet! John 13:8 NKJV But Jesus, as only Jesus does said, … “if I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with Me.” John 13:8 Peter then said with even more passion, well then wash all of me, give me a shower – (my words not his exact words LOL.) Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” John 13:9 NKJV
We then solemnly shared the Passover bread and cup thanking Jesus for the sacrifice that He made for each of us.

When this was complete, they led us off to the large dining room next door. Luckily the rain had subsided. Awaiting us was another wonderful family style feast with meats and salads and hummus and desserts. Lots and Lots of food. You’re not going to starve on this trip!


Another wonderful experience in Israel!

Shalom from Israel

Debbie

Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.

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