Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Matthew 26:26-30


26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body.'' 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.'' 30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus was celebrating the Passover dinner with His disciples. The first Passover is described in Exodus chapter 12: one lamb was sacrificed for every household and the blood painted onto the lintels and doorposts. This was done in order that the angel of Death would not slay the first-born son of the Jewish households, but only those of Pharoah's people, whom God had warned He would judge. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" the Lord told the children of Israel (Exodus 12:13). They were to eat the lamb, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, in haste prior to their departure from Egypt. The eating of unleavened bread was to continue for seven days, as their sustenance to exit Egypt and escape Pharoah's slavery. God ordained that the children of Israel would commemorate the Passover every year to remember their deliverance, almost 3,450 years ago. It is a reading of the Exodus 12, Psalms 113 and 114.

The Passover was a definite foreshadowing of God's Messiah, Who was still to come. There are several direct references to the Messiah in the celebration. There is an empty chair set for Elijah, if he should show up, presenting the Messiah. At one point in the dinner, the youngest of the family leaves the table and goes to the door to see if Elijah is here. He returns year after year with sadness that Elijah didn't show.

The entire meal is based upon 4 cups of wine-sanctification, deliverance, redemption and praise. It was the cup of redemption (the full payment for our freedom-the Lamb) that Jesus references as Himself. Also, there was a lamb that was killed in the original Passover event and one day God will provide His Lamb for the freedom of the entire world.

Jeremiah 31 speaks of this provision and that it will be a New Covenant (New Testament) with His people that will not be written on stones, but on the hearts of His people. This gives some rich meaning to John's words (John 1:29) when he says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

NOTE one more thing: This is called "communion" within the Christian world and is not a biblical term. Jesus speaks of it as a covenant. And that is the way I see it. It is a covenant between you and Jesus and between you and those with whom you are walking-all in the name of Jesus.