The Lord's Supper: A fresh look at a cherished celebration
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"
Our task: Discover why was Jesus so eager to celebrate this particular Passover feast with his disciples?
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
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?
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
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
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
Jesus, being free from all sin and perfect in character and nature, gave his body on the cross for us, dying for
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
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"
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.