And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. — Luke 22:19-20
In April of 1968, I was an assistant to the chaplain on board a troop ship heading to the combat zone in Vietnam. The Jewish Passover would occur during the twenty-one days we were en route across the Pacific, and some of the Jewish military personnel on board expressed their desire to hold a Seder — a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Passover. Permission was granted, and I volunteered to assist in the activity because I was interested in learning more about how the Jewish people observed this commonly celebrated religious ritual.
Although I was not allowed in the room during the Seder, I could hear and see through several windows. Part of the observance involves rehearsing how God fulfilled His promises of deliverance and brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. A book whose title The Haggadah literally means “the telling,” is traditionally used to recount highlights of the Exodus. Four cups are passed around, representing the four expressions of deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6-7: “I will bring you out,” “I will deliver,” “I will redeem,” and “I will take.” Symbolic foods are placed on the Seder plate and shared.
As I watched and listened, I remembered that on the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, the Lord expressed His desire to celebrate a final Passover meal with His disciples. The Seder is generally performed by a community or multiple generations of a family, and at that Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus truly was with His closest earthly companions. In addition to sharing a precious time of communion with them, Jesus knew the religious significance that evening would have for His followers in the coming centuries.
My thoughts went back to the many ordinance services I had attended through the years — special times when believers are encouraged to reflect on Jesus’ sacrificial death on Calvary for man’s deliverance from sin. Today’s focus verse relates that at the conclusion of the Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus “took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Later, this deliberate, ceremonial distribution of bread and the fruit of the vine was to become one of the greatest expressions of faith and adherence to the doctrines of Christianity. That is because the death and resurrection of Christ is the bedrock of the Christian faith. When Jesus died on the Cross, His Body was broken and His Blood was poured out; this was the price He paid for mankind’s redemption.
While the Jewish Passover looks back to the Israelites’ deliverance from physical bondage, the Lord’s Supper looks back to Christ’s death which made possible our deliverance from spiritual bondage. How vital it is that Christians periodically take time to ponder His great sacrifice for us! Partaking of the Lord’s Supper offers us that opportunity. Let us take advantage of the opportunities we have to observe this ordinance with God’s people, and as we receive the symbolic emblems, commemorate together the time when God gave His life for us.
In this portion of text, Luke continues the narrative of events leading up to Christ’s trial and crucifixion, describing Judas’ plot to betray Jesus (verses 1-6), Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples (verses 7-30), His foretelling of Peter’s denial (verses 31-34), and His prediction of opposition toward His disciples (verses 35-38).
During the Passover season, Jewish males over the age of twelve were required to gather in Jerusalem for the seven-day “feast of unleavened bread” (verse 1) and to commemorate the great deliverance from Egypt which had taken place centuries earlier. Before the Passover meal, homes were cleansed of leaven from top to bottom, and the symbolic food was prepared with care. Lamb was served at the Passover feast in memory of the lamb slain in each Jewish household on the night before the Exodus (see Exodus chapter 12). It was a reminder that the blood of a lamb was applied to the door posts of homes to ensure that the firstborn would be spared when the Lord passed through the land bringing death to the Egyptians.
Jesus’ comment, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come” (verse 18), was a figurative way of stating that before the next Passover, He would die, be resurrected, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost would occur, ushering in a new and glorious era of the Kingdom of God.
During this final sacred Passover feast before Jesus’ death, the disciples argued among themselves who would have the highest position of authority in Christ’s kingdom (verse 24). In most societies of that era, the person of highest rank sat to the right of the host and the next highest on the left. The succession of position would continue to alternate between right and left until everyone was seated.
In verse 25, Jesus alluded to the custom of Gentile rulers referring to themselves as “benefactors” in an effort to gain a good reputation based on acts of public generosity. Often, any beneficence was inspired by political aspirations or self-interest rather than genuine concern for the needy. Jesus wanted His followers to know that in Christ’s kingdom, greatness would be more than position or acclaim; humble service would be the mark of distinction.
Jesus foretold Peter’s denial in verse 31, indicating that Satan would attempt to “sift you as wheat.” This metaphor of sifting to remove chaff or foreign particles from wheat would have been easy for Peter to picture. Satan “sifts” by presenting temptation to remove Christ’s followers from His “wheat.” He wanted to blow Peter away like worthless chaff, but Christ indicated that He had prayed for Peter. He knew that although Peter would fail Him, he would be wiser and stronger because of the experience, and then would be able to help other brethren who would also have to endure temptation.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VII. The passion of the Son of Man
C. The preparation of the death of the Son of Man
1. The betrayal of the Son of Man (22:1-6)
a. The desire of the leaders (22:1-2)
b. The betrayal by Judas (22:3-4)
c. The plot of Judas and the leaders (22:5-6)
2. The observance the Passover meal (22:7-38)
a. The preparations (22:7-13)
b. The Passover meal (22:14-18)
c. The institution of the Lord’s Supper (22:19-20)
d. The announcement of His betrayer (22:21-23)
e. The strife among the disciples (22:24-30)
f. The prediction of Peter’s denial (22:31-35)
g. The prediction of opposition (22:36-38)
The Passover was celebrated to remind the Jews of their great deliverance from Egypt; we observe the Lord’s Supper in grateful remembrance of our deliverance from sin.