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The Lord's Supper: A fresh look at a cherished celebration
Luke 22:7-23

Scripture reading: Exodus 12:1-28

In Luke 22, Jesus, as an observant Jew, celebrates the Passover with his disciples-- according to God's instructions in Exodus 12.

Introductory material on the Passover

The Passover Feast looked back and celebrated God's deliverance of the Jews from 400 years of slavery and bondage in Egypt

The Passover Feast, combined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread were, and are, two of the most important Feasts and celebrations of the Jewish calendar. So important, that many Jews journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate them. Note: Both of these feasts coincided with each other.

The Passover, as we just read in Exodus 12, had everything to do with the blood of a lamb smeared onto the doorposts of the Jewish houses; that when the Lord came and he saw the blood, he passed over those houses -- not striking down and killing the first born males of those houses.

God's judgment passing over the houses marked with the blood of a lamb finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ-- for all who are in Christ will be spared/passed over on the day of Judgment

While Jesus' celebrating the Passover with his disciples was not a new thing to him or his disciples-- for Jesus had celebrated Passover his entire earthly life and with his disciples over the 3 years of their being with him-- the text emphasizes that he eagerly desired to eat this particular one with his disciples (verses 14-18). We are going to spend some time together discovering why.

The key verse of Luke 22:7-23 is "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" v.15

Our task: Discover why was Jesus so eager to celebrate this particular Passover feast with his disciples?

READ TEXT

Some special things to note before we delve into why was Jesus so eager to celebrate this particular Passover Feast with his disciples

1. While Satan was at work, God's plan was being forwarded v.1-6

The text tells us that the chief priests and the teachers of the law were intent on getting rid of Jesus. The text also tells us that Satan entered into Judas with the result that he betrayed Jesus for money.

While Satan was at work, the treachery of Judas and the Pharisees actually served to advance God's plan for our salvation-- for unless Jesus was betrayed by Judas and rejected by the chief priests and then crucified, the Word of God would not have been fulfilled. (See also Acts 4:27-28)

2. The irony of the chief priests breaking the spirit of Feast of Unleavened bread is magnified in the text v.1-6

A note of the Feast of Unleavened bread.

In the text we are told that something called the Feast of Unleavened bread was celebrated at the same time as the Passover. We often overlook this component.

All yeast was to be removed from the houses of the Jews. Yeast was a symbol for sin and in the context of the Egyptian bondage a reminder of the hardships of Egypt and of the wickedness of that place.

Irony: Chief priests and scribes bent on murder in a time specially called for holiness and purity

APPLICATION for us:

The careful search of ones house for all portions of yeast-- being a Jewish symbol for sin-- reminds us to be careful in our lives-- searching, evaluating, ensuring purity in our lives

As Jesus and his disciples prepared for the celebration of the Passover, so we must prepare our hearts for when we celebrate the Lord's Supper.


3. Luke's Passover celebration features a cup that we are generally unfamiliar with v.17-- A cup of great importance. A cup of anticipation

There are two cups that are mentioned in Luke. I will discuss these in more depth in a few minutes

4. The way in which Jesus came to celebrate the Passover where he did, is most fascinating v.7-13

Note how Jesus' disciples acquired a room for the location of the celebration.

On a number of occasions during his earthly ministry, Jesus called on his disciples to step out in faith and to do something that on the surface made no sense to them. i.e the acquiring of the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on (Luke 19).

Herein Jesus tells Peter and John to go and make preparations, upon asking where, Jesus tells them to enter the city. Upon their entry they will come across a man carrying a jar of water. They are to follow him and when they come to the house he goes to, they are to say to the owner of the house "The Teacher asks; Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"

Imagine if you and I received those instructions. Would we say Yes with enthusiasm? Would we look at each other with a "That's crazy" look?

APPLICATION

a. Following Jesus is a matter of faith

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6

b. Following Jesus is a matter of obedience

We are meant to be doers of God's Word and careful followers of Jesus' commands-- no matter how counter they are to our culture.

This is love for God, to obey his commands. I John 5:3


WHY JESUS WAS SO EAGER TO CELEBRATE THIS PARTICULAR PASSOVER FEAST WITH HIS DISCIPLES

1. He was looking forward to the Great Feast of Heaven-- The wedding supper of the Lamb. The day in Heaven when he will once again eat the Passover meal. See Revelation 19:6-9.

Remember how I mentioned that Luke features two cups? Well the first cup is a cup Jesus introduces to us as a cup of anticipation-- a cup Jesus uses to anticipate his once again partaking of the Passover feast in Heaven Read v.17-18

In Revelations 19 this Feast is called the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Note the words of Revelation 19:6-9; "Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."

APPLICATION: While we don't use a second cup at the Communion Table, there ought to be a remembrance of these words of Christ-- who was looking forward to the great feast/the great celebration/the wedding supper of the Lamb, that is to come.

Further application***: To get through the trials of this life, we need to keep our eyes and hearts on the prize and promises of God, of the delights to come at the Father's right hand


2. He was on the verge of completing his earthly mission

In verse 15 Jesus speaks of his upcoming time of suffering-- his soon time on the cross.

These words of Christ hence remind us of why Jesus came to Earth. Jesus came on a rescue mission-- to save us from our sins and the judgment to come. Jesus came to die as a once for all sacrifice for sins. Jesus came to die in our places-- taking the judgment of God that we deserve.

In coming to this Passover-- his last one on Earth-- Jesus knew that he was about to complete his mission-- the time had come to go to the cross.


3. He was about to bring new meaning to the symbols of the Passover celebration v.19-21

Basic point: All the symbols of the Passover meal pointed to Jesus and found fulfillment in Him and his death and sacrifice on the cross

Note some of the symbols of the Passover

a. A spotless Lamb--

This lamb was eaten by the celebrant who remembered that a lamb's blood was used to mark the door posts of the Jews in Egypt before the 10th plague of God struck the land. For them a lamb died as a substitute in their place.

John said of Jesus "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Jesus died as the once for all perfect sacrifice for sins in our place on the cross-- taking the judgment that we deserve for our sins.


b. Unleavened bread-- being a symbol of the hardships of Egypt and of purity and the absence of sin that is required by God of his people

Herein Jesus takes this bread and says to his disciples "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me".

Jesus, being free from all sin and perfect in character and nature, gave his body on the cross for us, dying for us

c. A cup of red wine usually called the cup of redemption-- the cup taken after the supper.

A cup reminding the celebrant that a lamb gave it's life blood that they might be spared the judgment of God.

Jesus took this cup and said "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" v.20

Note: In the Bible it is by blood that covenants (agreements) are made.

-The blood of a sacrifice sealed these agreements.
-The sacrifice had to be pure and spotless and without blemish.
-Herein Jesus, referring to the old covenant-- of the Law and the 10 commandments, institutes a new covenant (prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-32) sealed by his blood
-Jesus could institute this new covenant by his blood because he perfectly kept the demands of the Old Covenant (the covenant the of the Law and the 10 Commandments)
-The most pertinent aspect of the New Covenant is this: Relationship with God does not depend upon your ability to keep the 10 Commandments (for this is impossible for us). Relationship with God rests upon a relationship with Jesus Christ who perfectly kept the Law and then died, shedding his blood, as a once for all sacrifice for our sins that whoever is in him is regarded as right with God and has no fear of the judgment to come



CONCLUSION

Jesus' sending of the disciples into the city looking for a guy with a water jar is a reminder that following Jesus entails obedience and faith. He wants us to learn to trust and obey.

The Lord's supper is a lasting ordinance given to us by Jesus. We are to continually celebrate Christ's saving and substitutionary work on the cross

in our celebrating of the Lord's Supper we must not miss the significance of the unleavened bread. It is a reminder of the hardships of Christ, of his purity and sinlessness and it's reminder of how we are to examine ourselves regularly with an eye to getting rid of all that would make us unclean and impure

Jesus' forward looking enthusiasm about the Banquet of Heaven-- seen in the first cup--- a banquet reserved for the righteous followers of God and Christ- is an enthusiasm we are to have. We have a heavenly home that we are looking forward and a big celebration party to attend-- The Wedding Banquet of the Lamb

As the Lord passed over the houses marked with the blood of the lamb so all those in Christ- the Lamb of God- will be passed over on the day of Judgment As Romans 8:1 says; "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

Question:

Are you right with Jesus? Have you been reconciled to God? Are you safe from the judgment to come? The good news is -- You can be! Turn to Jesus in faith and repentance.