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VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 22:14-22 (KJV, Public Domain)
Jesus’ time on this earth was ending. On this night, He would be betrayed. From there, the course of events will move quickly toward the cross where the Passover Lamb will be sacrificed for the sin of the world.
Before we arrive at that point in history, let us review the specifics of Jesus’ last Passover celebration with the disciples that we now refer to as the Lord’s Supper.
The Hour has Come
Luke 22:14 “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”
At the beginning of chapter 22, we see a more detailed telling of events that lead to our opening verse.
Verse 1 plainly tells us, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.” (For more on the original Passover view this lesson here). It is also during this time that the hunt for Jesus’ life is in full swing (vs. 2) and Judas Iscariot was all too happy to oblige them with the means and opportunity, for the right price, of course (Vss. 3-6; see also Matthew 26:14-16)
“Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed,” (Luke 22:7). And I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but before all these events would conclude, Christ Himself will be identified as our ultimate Passover Lamb sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7).
As the time drew near to kill the lamb, Peter and John were sent to prepare for and make “ready the passover” (Luke 22:13; read Vss. 7-13).
Opening to the first verse of our lesson text, we see, “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”
To me, the phrase “the hour was come” is so pivotal in the story of Jesus. Although here it is referring to the hour of the meal that according to Jewish times would have been at twilight, or just after sunset, or evening (compare Matthew 26:20; see also Leviticus 23:5), I think of those times when Jesus voiced, “My hour has not yet come” (see John 2:4; 7:6). As Jesus was entering in the “hour” of the feast, He was also entering into the “hour” of His suffering, also referred to as His passion (Acts 1:3; compare to John 13:1) that would bring the hope of salvation of the world.
As Jesus was entering into the “hour” of the feast, He was entering the “hour” of long-awaited prophecies being fulfilled concerning Him and the world He would finish on the cross (compare John 13:1).
After this sacred meal, Jesus would be arrested and led as a “lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7). As they led Him to Calvary, He would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). As He hung on the cross, Messianic psalms such as Psalm 22 would become so scarily read as it outlines centuries before the crucifixion of Christ in exact detail.
Yes, I believe this hour is very pivotal.
Thus, “he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.” Yes, all “twelve apostles” joined Jesus in this final Passover feast, including Judas Iscariot, the Lord’s betrayer (which we will discuss in greater detail a little later).
Luke 22:15-16 “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus never hid the reality of the suffering He would face from His disciples. There were many times when Jesus tried to prepare their hearts for this time (see Matthew 16:21; 20:17-19; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:21-22; 13:33; 18:31-33). But, as Luke 18:34 reminds us, the truth of what Jesus was trying to convey to them regarding His suffering often escaped the disciples understanding: “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Therefore, Jesus told them, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer”. Although the time and significance of everything that was about to transpire was lost on His disciples, Jesus knew and held this occasion very near to His heart. He knew that after this day He would not eat of this feast anymore “until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Despite what the chief priests and those who sought His life thought of Him, Jesus knew where He was going. After everything pertaining to His mission on earth and every prophecy fulfilled, Jesus knew that He would return to the Father, “the kingdom of God,” and one day His saints would join Him in the ultimate celebration of celebrations.
Do This in Remembrance of Me
Luke 22:17-20 “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 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.”
May we not overlook the taking of the cups here. While this cup was one of several in the part of the regular Passover feasts celebration, I can’t help but be reminded that in a little while our Lord will be on His knees praying in that sacred garden for a certain cup to pass Him by. But with a heart of submission and acceptance, He takes on the full role the Father has ordained for Him, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus will suffer. He will be crucified on a criminal’s cross. He will die, but for the joy of being in fellowship with His disciples, at this moment, He gives thanks. He keeps His eyes and His heart heaven focused. He goes through the rituals and prescriptions of the Passover meal, without missing a beat, and still giving thanks.
With that same emphasis given toward the “kingdom of God shall come” as He did in verse 16, Jesus knows that He will not “drink of the fruit of the vine” in this celebratory manner until that great and glorious day.
He hasn’t returned yet, so our Lord is still waiting for His celebratory feast.
With His focus on spiritual and heavenly things, Jesus sets about a new way for His disciples and all who would accept Him as Savior to remember Him as they approached this sacred meal.
Taking the “bread” and giving thanks and breaking it, distributing it to His disciples, Jesus speaks these words: “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
This Passover bread would have broken easily considering it was without yeast as formerly instructed to the people (Exodus 12:8; Deuteronomy 16:3-4). With its maybe flat and cracker-like structure (as we know it today), it would have easily snapped and been susceptible to breaking or tearing, causing much harm. Jesus took much harm on His body when He died for our sins.
The bread being broken was a symbol of what His “body which is given for you” would endure. Isaiah prophesied of His suffering body, saying, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (53:4-5).
His “body” was given for our sins (Galatians 1:4). When we partake of this holy meal, we are remembering, by faith, everything Jesus endured for us. We are remembering the sacrifice “given for you”; given for all of us (John 3:16).
Of the “cup” He speaks, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Hebrews 9:22 reminds us that, “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” The symbol of the cup would be the symbol of His life being poured out “for you”, for us all.
In the book of the Law, in Leviticus 17:11, we read, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
If I had space and time, I would break that one verse down with those four phrases, each having its own space of explanation: 1) Life of the flesh is in the blood, 2) I have given it to you upon the altar, 3) To make an atonement for your souls, 4) For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
The blood was sacred. Then, it was for the purpose of sacrifice on the altar, and the blood that would be represented in the cup that would be forever remembered in the same sacred way, only more so, because He who gave His life on the altar of the cross is so much more and He blood has done so much more.
Taking our minds back to the Old Testament altar, we see it not only as a place of worship but also as a place of sacrifice. It is where one could find atonement for sins and wrongs committed. It was the center of reconciliation between God and man from the time of Noah when he “builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).
That was then. That was a picture of what was to come. On this night, Jesus would give us a new picture, with a new, fulfilling meaning of blood shed, sacrifice, and altar.
Throughout the New Testament we see this new picture of where our reconciliation and hope now lies: in Christ. Hebrews 9:11-15 tells us,
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
He, with the cup in His hand. He, the mediator of the “new testament”, verifies what has already been stated: this is “my blood, which is shed for you.”
For love, He would perform every bit of the Father’s will
For love, He will lay down His life (John 15:13).
For love, His blood will be shed for you and me.
Going back to the previous verse – “This do in remembrance of me” we recognize we could never save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8). Every soul on planet earth – past, present, and future would need what Jesus would offer on the cross through His blood: reconciliation.
“This do in remembrance of me” were the words that came that left no question as to why this would be celebrated from henceforth. It would be done and carried out to remember what Jesus did on that cross, to remember, in its truest form, the sacrifice He became when He allowed Himself to become the Passover Lamb. As the original Passover was a memorial to celebrate the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (see Exodus 12:14), so too would this “supper” celebrate our deliverance from the captivity of sin through the brokenness of Jesus Christ.
To some, the cup may just be a cup to hold a drink for the evening, but for us who believe, that cup became an everlasting symbol of the new that God would initiate through His holy Son.
My Betrayer is With Me
Luke 22:21-22 “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”
After announcing that it would be His very blood that would usher in the new testament, the new covenant, there is the “but” thrown in the mix.
As much as Jesus desired to share this meal with His disciples, it would be one of them who would betray Him as was prophesied many years prior: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).
Earlier, in verse 14, we noted that as Jesus sat down, all twelve apostles were with Him, including Judas Iscariot. And Jesus plainly states here in verse 21, “the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.”
One, an apostle, welcomed to dine with Jesus as a friend, is also a betrayer. And although many voices rose to question, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:21), both Jesus and Judas Iscariot knew the answer to that question.
Redemption for mankind will come, and Jesus will fulfill His role and purpose for being born on this earth: “The Son of man goeth, as it was determined,” but that does not absolve Judas Iscariot’s guilt from the part he played, for Jesus said, “But woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”
His name always appears in the last position of the disciples in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and not at all in Acts 1:13. And, his name is always identified by what he did.
It was he that went to the chief priests, and asked, “What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” (Matthew 26:15). It was he that would later come to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in great distress, and betrayed our Lord with a kiss (Matthew 26:15; 27:3). And it was he who joined the Lord at the “table” commemorating this Last Supper.
Although the events that would come at the end of this supper, at the end of this night would be painful in more ways than one, Jesus desired to have this time with His disciples and to share this meal.
They, and Christians following, would look back on the events of this Last Supper as a time to reflect, examine, be grateful, and remember all that our Lord Jesus Christ has done for each of us.
PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples
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Draw the Scene: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Memory Verse
Activity Sheet: The Last Supper Activity Sheet
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