The Last Supper

Posted: April 5, 2010 in Sermons

The table was set.
Jesus had sent his disciple ahead of him to prepare the Passover meal, what they called the seder, which meant “order”.  Of course they knew what food to buy, how to set the table, and what happened at the Passover meal.  You see, most Jewish celebrations took place in the local synagogue, but this one happened in the home.  The disciples, like all Jewish people, had celebrated this holiday with their families for over 1,000 years.  And no matter where you lived in the world, every year it was the same meal and the same rituals.  It started with the youngest person in the families asking a question, “Why is this night different than all the rest?”  The father would explain the history of God’s people being rescued from slavery in Egypt.  There was a series of questions and answers along with a specific order of eating the food and drinking the wine in order to remember and teach.
However, on this night things turned out different.  Jesus inserted something into the order of the meal, which most likely shocked the disciples and left them speechless.  Jesus took the unleavened bread, which was supposed to symbolize the Israelites quick flight out of Egypt, and he broke it and passed it to his disciples.  He said that it was his body broken for them.  He said to eat it in remembrance of him.  We take the bread, which is a reminder to us of Christ’s broken body, and after everyone has it, we will thank Him and take it together.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup… If Jesus were following the traditional Jewish seder then he and the disciples would have already had two cups of wine before and during the meal.  Those were a reminder of Exodus 6:6-7 and the deliverance and freedom that God gave them.  If they had already eaten the main course (“after supper”), then the disciples were expecting Jesus to raise the 3rd cup and say the Cup of Blessing.  This was a reminder to them of God’s third promise in Exodus 6: “I will redeem.”  However, Jesus changes the script again because it says that he took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Again, we pass the cup, reminding us of Jesus’ blood that was shed so that we could be redeemed.


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