2015-10-04 The Last Supper

LUKE 22:7-20                                                                                  OCTOBER 4, 2015


Growing up in my home the kitchen was the room where most conversation took place. And it was at the dinner table where we shared our lives and our thoughts. There was always much laughter along with our discussions. I miss those table talks with my parents. I learned many things sitting at that table. In much the same way this last supper with Jesus involved much conversation and last minute instructions. This last supper was pivotal for the apostles in their understanding of what Jesus was doing and was going to do.

Passover was a required celebration for all Jews who sought to be faithful in honoring God. Jesus would not pass up an opportunity to glorify and worship his Father. Luke mentions the details of preparing for this remembrance meal. This meal was providentially planned by Jesus. Luke 22:7-12 (NIV) 7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” 9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. 10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

Luke makes it clear that Jesus knew all the details and nothing was left to chance. It was unusual for men to carry water as this task was usually done by women Thus it was easy for Peter and John to identify the man carrying a jar of water. All they had to do was follow the instructions of Jesus. Luke 22:13 (NIV) 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.” Jesus was and is in control of all events!

Exodus 12:11 (NIV) 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.” At the time of the Passover the Jewish people were commanded to eat the meal in haste as they were about to flee. Standing was also a sign of a slave when they ate a meal. Luke 22:14 (NIV) 14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.” It was no longer appropriate for the meal to be eaten in haste as it was now a remembrance of God saving his chosen people. This is why they reclined.

Luke 22:15-16 (NIV) 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” The words “eagerly desired” indicate great emotion. The Passover will be literally fulfilled in the death of Jesus on the cross, as the sacrificial lamb. Jesus knew this Passover meal was to be his last until the coming feast will be held at the end of the Age.  The ministry of Jesus was coming to its desired end.

Luke 22:17-18 (NIV) 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” In the other gospel accounts there is only one cup mentioned. Luke mentions two different cups with the first one here in verse 17. In a regular Passover meal there are four cups of wine. The first is drunk with an opening benediction (blessing); the second is after the Passover is explained and with the singing of praise to God; the third follows the meal of unleavened bread, lamb, and the bitter herbs; and the fourth is in conjunction with a closing hymn of praise. The wine was watered down, if you were wondering about the amount being consumed.

Then Jesus took the bread. Luke 22:19 (NIV) 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” This is where Jesus changes the Passover tradition as he now makes the meal into a ceremony of remembrance about his upcoming suffering and death on the cross. Jesus took on the punishment for our sins that we deserve. 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus offered on behalf of his chosen servants. The call to remembrance is to connect us to our spiritual roots. We belong to Jesus and the family of God. My identity is connected to Jesus. This is who I am, a child of God, serving Christ my Lord. In communion we thank God for the offering of Jesus in our behalf.

Luke 22:20 (NIV) 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” It is the blood of Christ that atones for our sins. Romans 5:8-9 (NIV) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Being poured out means Jesus gave up his life in our behalf.

Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God that takes away our sins, is the fulfillment of the promise made to the prophet Jeremiah when he promised that there would be a new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31, 33 (NIV) 31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”

This meal is to be a reminder that we belong to Jesus and that we are united to one another through Jesus. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV) 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Paul also reminds us that this meal is serious business. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV) 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” Jesus commanded us to celebrate this last supper as a reminder of our commitment to him. Partaking of the sacred meal is a reminder of the cost of our salvation and thus should never be taken in a joking manner.

We are united with Christ and we are either good or poor witnesses. Romans 6:6-7 (NIV) 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– 7 because anyone who has died has from sin.” We have not been cleansed so we can continue to do whatever we want and commit sins without regard to whom we represent. My great aunt was horrified when her nephew, my uncle, declared bankruptcy when his business failed. She felt that he brought dishonor to the name of Wildsmith. We represent Jesus!

The Lord’s Supper is to assist us in remembering the great love that God has for us. It is an appropriate time to confess our sins and to remember that we do not earn our salvation. It is a gift of grace so that no one may boast. In Christ we have been set free so we also should be expressing joy along with our giving thanks. We are covered by the blood of the Lamb! Thanks be to God!

Let us pray.