THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER BUILDS ON THE IMAGERY OF PASSOVER AND ANTICIPATES FINAL KINGDOM CONSUMMATION
Here we have the famous last meal before Jesus goes to the Cross. So much happens at this event that is not even recorded in Luke. But what we see here is the huge transition from the OT economy represented by the Passover celebration to the NT economy represented by the introduction of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus is preparing His intimate band of apostles for His offering of Himself on the next day as the sacrificial Passover Lamb of God. But He is also casting their vision into the future when they will partake together in resurrected bodies at the consummation of the kingdom on earth when He returns in glory to reign in righteousness and peace.
Donald Miller: That which the Passover foreshadowed was to become a reality through him. Paul called Christ “our paschal lamb” (I Cor. 5:7). The Passover represented God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt (Exod. 12:1 – 13:10). A greater deliverance was now about to take place in Jesus – deliverance from sin. The celebration of the earlier deliverance on this occasion was invested with a new meaning on the verge of its fulfillment. So the sadness of farewell was also the joy of the coming Kingdom. The Lord’s Supper continues to be an anticipation of the coming Messianic Banquet, when Jesus shall return to complete the work he has accomplished in his death and resurrection.
I. (:7-13) PASSOVER PREPARATION
A. (:7) Perfect Timing
“Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread
on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.”
B. (:8-12) Perfect Venue
1. (:8) Delegation
“And He sent Peter and John, saying,
‘Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.’”
2. (:9) Dialogue
“And they said to Him, ‘Where do You want us to prepare it?’”
3. (:10-11) Directions
“And He said to them, ‘Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’”
Lenski: This was a woman’s task and was exceptional I the case of a man. The apostles were not to accost this man but were simply to follow him into whatever house he entered.
4. (:12) Details
“And he will show you a large, furnished, upper room; prepare it there.”
C. (:13) Perfect Arrangements
“And they departed and found everything just as He had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.”
Bruce Hurt: It is interesting to note that the events preceding the Triumphal Entry parallel the events surrounding the preparation for the Last Supper.
(1) In both Jesus commissioned two disciples (Lk 19:29),
(2) In both Jesus had foreknowledge of what they would encounter (Lk 19:30-31).
(3) In both the response of those encountered by the two disciples is similar (See Lk 19:32-34 cf Lk 22:11-12).
In summary, in both situations, all was exactly as Jesus had said it would be. Beloved, that is always the case. Every promise Jesus makes to us is true and trustworthy. And “all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Him. That is why we say “Amen” when we give glory to God through Christ.” (2 Cor 1:20)
II. (:14-18) PASSOVER PARTICIPATION
A. (:14-16) Game Plan
1. (:14) Intimate Dinner
“And when the hour had come He reclined at the table,
and the apostles with Him.”
2. (:15) Intentional Deed
“And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover
with you before I suffer;’”
Albert Barnes: suggests three reasons for Jesus’ earnest desire to eat the Passover:
(1) That, as he was about to leave them, he was desirous once of seeing them together, and of partaking with them of one of the religious privileges of the Jewish dispensation. Jesus was man as well as God, and he never undervalued the religious rites of his country, or the blessings of social and religious intercourse; and there is no impropriety in supposing that even he might feel that his human nature might be prepared by the service of religion for his great and terrible sufferings.
(2) He doubtless wished to take an opportunity to prepare them for his sufferings, and to impress upon them more fully the certainty that he was about to leave them, that they might be prepared for it.
(3) We may also suppose that he particularly desired it that he might institute for their use, and for the edification of all Christians, the supper which is called by his name-the Lord’s Supper. All his sufferings were the expression of love to his people, and he was desirous of testifying always his regard for their comfort and welfare. (Barnes Notes on the NT)
3. (:16) Indefinite Period Before Kingdom Consummation
“for I say to you, I shall never again eat it
until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Geldenhuys: On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus knows that the whole course of His life of self-sacrifice and humiliation on earth is now drawing to an end. But He also knows that the day will come when He as the Triumphant One will lead His followers to the beautiful heritage of complete redemption and blessedness. This full blessedness which will commence with the end of the age has often been represented by the symbol of the celebration of a Messianic banquet. For this reason the Saviour here refers to the celebration of the feast on that coming day when the sovereign dominion of God has come to full revelation and the redemption wrought by the grace of God, as symbolized in the Passover celebrations, has become a blessed and perfect reality.
B. (:17-18) Execution
“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks,”
“He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves;’”
3. Refraining While Anticipating
“for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on
until the kingdom of God comes.”
MacArthur: What’s He talking about here? He’s talking about some spiritual meal, some spiritual Passover? No. No. They would have understood it very simply in the future, in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, “I will eat and I will drink with you,” – that’s eschatological – in the millennial Kingdom, in the thousand-year reign of Jesus on earth when He returns and sets up His Kingdom; in that millennial Kingdom, there will be a reinstitution of the Passover – not to point back to the exodus, but to point back to the cross because the Passover was designed not only to commemorate the exodus, but to point to the sacrifice of Christ.
III. (:19-20) LORD’S SUPPER INSTITUTED
A. (:19) Distributing the Bread – Significance
“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”
MacArthur: That phrase, “Which is given for you,” is the most important concept in the entire Bible, the most important concept in the entire Bible. It is the concept of substitutionary death.
Hendriksen: Jesus’ point in commanding us to remember is “Lest we forget.” That seems unthinkable, but frankly, most of us have “leaky” memories! We are a forgetful people (I am guilty of this) and Jesus knows that is the tendency of our nature and will be until that great day when we are glorified, so He commemorates the Lord’s Supper as a “means” to stimulate our memory regarding all He has accomplished for us in dying in our place on the Cross and all that He will accomplish when He returns (cf “until He comes” – 1 Cor 11:26). In Psalm 103:2 David exhorts us to “preach a sermon to our souls” – “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.” While regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper obviously is important so that we “forget none of His benefits,” we as priests of God (1 Pe 2:9+) can every morning “offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15+) for His benefits that are ours in Christ. So tomorrow morning consider beginning your day by remembering the countless benefits that are yours because of Christ’s death on the Cross and His promise to return! You may be surprised at how uplifting such a simple exercise is to your soul and what a difference it makes on the rest of your day!
B. (:20) Distributing the Cup — Significance
“And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying,
‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’”
MacArthur: What is the new covenant? The new covenant is the covenant of Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36. It’s the saving covenant. It’s the covenant of forgiveness and salvation. It’s the covenant by which God forgives sinners, and it’s ratified in the death of Christ. God forgave sinners before Christ died. God forgives sinners since Christ died. But God forgives all sinners because Christ died.
IV. (:21-23) WARNING OF BETRAYAL
A. (:21) Calling Out the Traitor
“But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.”
Anyabwile: Even the betrayal by Judas mentioned in verse 21 was a fulfillment of Scripture. The psalmist saw a day when even his own familiar friend would betray him (Ps. 41:9; see John 13:18). Jesus says David’s words were written about him (24:44). In truth Satan influenced Judas, but God was in control. Jesus was not killed simply because he was betrayed. He was killed because he was appointed to die for our sins (Acts 4:27-28). Even the most wicked and desperate acts of men cannot overthrow the plans of God. Even the cruelest betrayals come through the sovereign hands of God. God is always at work in such suffering to bring to pass his ultimately good plans. He works through tragedy to accomplish our salvation and bless his people.
B. (:22) Culpability Coupled with Divine Decree
“For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined;
but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
C. (:23) Confusion
“And they began to discuss among themselves
which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.”