Jesus and the Last Supper - What can we learn?
Shortly before Jesus was crucified, He ate one final Passover dinner with His disciples which we refer to as the Last Supper. Jesus said, "And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God'" (Luke 22:15). Jesus had often tried to talk to them about His death and the manner in which He would die. But now the time had come and this was their last feast together.
The Bible says that He took bread and gave each of them some and then said, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19b). And He took wine and shared with them. He said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20). He told them several things in these short statements. He wanted them to know that He was going to die a sacrificial death for sin, that it was going to be His blood that paid the blood sacrifice, that He was to establish a new covenant and to replace the Old Covenant that the Jews had lived under for so long, and He wanted them to remember this celebration feast and commemorate it in the future to remind followers of His sacrificial death for them.
Luke's gospel records a dispute that took place at this dinner among a few of His disciples as to which of them was the greatest. Jesus had anticipated the biggest event ever was about to take place in history and His disciple had still not grasped the significance of His words. He had just told them that he was having a last meal with them before His death and they are arguing about who is going to be the greatest in His kingdom! So Jesus taught them a lesson on serving, "For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:27-30). Again with His words, He gave more than one major message: His kingdom was not going to be of this world and in order to be great in His kingdom, they needed to learn how to serve.
The last hours had come prior to Jesus death and still His disciples had not understood His message about His death or resurrection. But just a few days later they finally fully understood what Jesus had been trying to tell them. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead and appeared before them, it suddenly all made sense. Jews well understood the Old Covenant, the pure and spotless sacrificial lamb, and the blood shed necessary to pay the ransom for sin. Now they understood what Jesus had been trying to explain to them all of this time, He was that lamb. They could clearly see the evidence of His resurrected body. Finally this, too could be grasped. And as they watched Him ascend into Heaven, they realized what He meant in His statements about His kingdom. Then they remembered His words also about The Last Supper and His Kingdom in Heaven.
Commemoration of the Last Supper did not end with the death of the twelve disciples however. When Jesus said that He wanted them to do it to remember Him, it was a message to us also. Jesus desired that His followers continue to have a commemoration of the Lord's Supper to remind us of Christ's sacrificial death for our sins. It was given as a time to give thanks to God for sending Christ to die in our place. In Matthew 26:29 we read Jesus' words to us where He clearly included us in this remembrance command and He gave us a powerful promise for our future. "I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Jesus promised that we can see Him in Heaven with God if we accepted His gift of forgiveness for our sins.
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