We are continuing to meditate on Jesus’ words at the last Passover meal He ate with His disciples the night before His crucifixion:
14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:14-20).
Jesus said that He eagerly desired to eat this Passover with His friends and loved ones. Companionship is one of the greatest sources of strength when one is about to go through something painful. The Lord knew that, within a few hours, He would be crucified and the disciples would all fall away due to the pressure of the moment. This evening meal would be an opportunity to teach the disciples some of the things close to His heart that they needed to understand. A small group is a church in microcosm. Never underestimate the power of being in a relationship with others when hard times come. We need one another. God never designed us to live apart from friends and family. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). It is part of our DNA to have others around us and to share our burdens and trials.
When Jesus broke the bread, He told them that His body was given to them. He did not say that it was broken for them because the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20). The other two crucified with Christ had their bones broken to hasten death before evening, but the bones of Jesus were not broken on the cross. He spoke of His blood being the blood of the New Covenant that delivers us from servitude to Satan and the curse of sin and the world system. Solemn covenants were sealed by blood. With the New Covenant, it would not be ratified or sealed by the blood of a substitute animal, but by the shedding of the blood of God made flesh.
For more than five hundred years, the Israelites waited for what the prophet Jeremiah had spoken concerning a new covenant that God would initiate with His people:
31“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
A covenant is a formal agreement of legal validity solemnly binding on the parties that agree with one another. The Old Covenant between God and the Israelites was inaugurated at the foot of Mount Sinai, and not made without blood (Exodus 24:6-8). This covenant that we enter into with God promises that the Lord will walk with us and that His presence will "Passover" us. When we say "yes" to Jesus Christ, we enter a formal covenant with Him. Our part of the covenant is to walk in faithful obedience to Him. God's role is to walk with us and to always be our God. He has given many conditional promises that go along with this covenant. We are only to ask Him. Have you entered into the New Covenant yet? Isn't it time? Keith Thomas
Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, study 59.The Last Supper