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We finally come to the Passover meal Jesus is going to eat with His disciples.Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. 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, 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?' He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there."
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 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."
NOTE what Jesus says about the Kingdom. Remember, according to Jesus the Kingdom is already present. However, this presence of the Kingdom now is gradually coming upon the earth. Now, Jesus speaks of the Kingdom fulfillment in the future. Clearly, the Kingdom is gradual and later when Jesus returns, the Kingdom will be in its fullest form.
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. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!" They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
The Passover dinner that Jesus is eating with His disciples has special significance. Since the miraculous event in Egypt when the death angel “passed over” the Jewish homes that were covered by the blood of a lamb, the Jews faithfully observed this Passover feast.
This is possibly the most prominent of the Jewish feasts that has kept the Jewish people going throughout the centuries. It’s a dinner of instruction for the children to be told of the freedom God brought upon the Jewish people and removed them from their oppressive captivity.
This dinner is actually a telling of the story of that freedom with a future look toward ultimate freedom through the Messiah someday. In the 31st chapter of Jeremiah God promised that He would someday make a new covenant with His people with a Law that is written, not on stones, but on their hearts. And God was to do this by providing His special lamb for the world.
The entire dinner speaks of the history of the Jewish people and looks forward to the Messiah’s coming, the Holy One. At one point in the dinner the youngest is sent to the door to see if Elijah has come to sit at his place of honor at the table. You see, when Elijah shows, he will be introducing the coming of the Messiah.
The Passover celebration is a picture of the Messiah. Now, Jesus presents Himself as the One they have been celebrating all along through the Passover feast.
What’s interesting is that the Christians have taken the Passover celebration and changed its name and purpose. They use terms such as the “last supper” or “communion”—neither designation is Biblical. A better term might be the “covenant” supper or simply call it the Passover. It is filled with great meaning and is indeed a beautiful picture of freedom from all slavery and ultimate freedom through God’s Messiah.
Jesus so desired to eat this Passover with His disciples so that He, the Passover Lamb, might make a covenant with them. That covenant was to bind Him to them and they to Him until He was to return. And today, the covenant supper binds us to one another and to Him until He returns. This is why we are told, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, we are to do it in remembrance of Him, UNTIL HE RETURNS.” This is our covenant. This is our hope.
NOTE one more thing here. This covenant was made with the disciples just before the saddest days of their lives. This is precisely why they needed this special covenant with their Lord. And, you know what, this is why we desperately need to be in covenant with Jesus and with one another today. This covenant is the only protection we have and the only protection you’ll ever need as you face the difficult days ahead. I like the way Paul expressed this to the Corinthians: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I urge you to take the time to celebrate this feast of freedom. It will mark you. God will mark your hearts with His covenant until He returns.