The Last Supper

Thursday- Passover:
Read: (Matt 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-65 & John 13)

I can’t think of many pleasures in life that are better than sitting down to a meal with friends and family. There’s something about people and food that brings me joy and leaves me with so many happy memories.

It’s no wonder the Bible records so many meals our Lord had with His friends, family, and followers. In fact, on the very eve of His crucifixion, Jesus celebrated a Passover meal with his disciples.  That final meal was not just an observance of the annual Jewish celebration, but the last supper, known and celebrated by the Church as Communion.

John’s gospel tells us in chapter 13 that Jesus knew the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. And having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.  Several things happened that night, but, at the center of it all, was the meal they shared together. Jesus focused on the “cup of blessing” and the “breaking of bread.” The cup and the bread were  common elements at any evening meal (both then and now), but Jesus would use these two common elements to illustrate something uncommon and profound.

The cup that was shared represented Jesus’ blood which was going to be spilled on Calvary. The blood would seal a new covenant with God’s redeemed people for all of eternity.  In the same manner, Jesus also took the bread, broke it, and offered it to those partaking of the meal. The bread would represent Jesus’ broken body, given not for those he dined with, but for all who would accept his broken body as perfect sacrifice for our sins.

This night was a very emotional night. In the middle of this symbolic meal stood heartache and humility. It was during the course of the meal that Jesus would predict Judas’ kiss of betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as Peter’s denial of Jesus three times. In between all of this, a dispute broke out among the disciples as to whom would be the greatest in God’s kingdom. Without a word, Jesus stood up, removed his rabbinical robe, wrapped a towel around his waist and began washing each of the disciple’s feet. When he finished, Jesus told them, “A new command I give you: love one another as I have loved you….by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:24-25)  

I can only imagine how special, moving, and powerful that final meal was. Yet over 2000 years later, as often as we gather in Jesus’ memory, we can partake of the Lord’s Supper. We not only proclaim His death, but also recognize the fellowship and new life we have with Him and with others.

So, the next time you partake of a meal with family and friends, leave an extra chair for Jesus. He’s dining with us, for He lives in us.    

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