The Last Supper
And [Jesus] 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 . . . I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (from Luke 22:15-18).
What we call The Last Supper was a Passover meal Jesus and his disciples ate the night before He was crucified. Jews ate this meal to commemorate God’s deliverance of the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage. God had told Moses to commemorate yearly the Passover meal the Israelites had eaten before they left Egypt. That night all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians died, but God “passed over” the firstborn sons of those who sacrificed a lamb and sprinkled its blood on their doorposts and lintel (Ex. 12:1-24.)
Jesus knew that the last Passover he celebrated with His disciples would be more than a commemoration of something that happened centuries before. During the meal, He said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” After the supper, He took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
Jesus also thought about the next time he would eat a celebratory meal with his disciples—not just the ones in the upper room that night. To that group would be added other disciples from every tribe and tongue and nation (Revelation 7:9). Jesus will wait until the kingdom comes in its fullness to drink again of the fruit of the vine.
We remember Jesus’ death and resurrection with communion, which is also called the Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper. The word communion comes from the Greek word koinonia that means “fellowship, partnership, shared by all.” Eucharist means “thanksgiving.”*
Passover and communion are acts of worship that celebrate God’s grace. He delivered His people from bondage through the blood that was shed—symbolically through the Passover lamb and ultimately through Jesus’ death on the cross (Hebrews 9:12-15).
Communion looks back to Jesus’ death as the Lamb of God, but it also looks forward to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb when the kingdom of God will come in its fullness (Revelation 19:7-9). On that day all Christians will drink the fruit of the vine with Him.
Do you eagerly desire to eat the glorious Wedding Supper of the Lamb? Can you imagine? We will eat the meal and drink wine with Jesus!
- Read Luke 14:16-23, a parable about a great supper. What’s unusual about the guests? Why do you think Jesus told this parable?
- Read another parable in Luke 19:11-26. Why did Jesus tell this parable? What were the people supposed to do while waiting for the return of the king? What should we be doing while we wait for His return?
- The word fulfilled in Luke 22:16 means to make full, to fill to the top, fill to the brim, to consummate, to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment.* Read Revelation 12:10-11. What are some things that happen when the kingdom of God comes fully?
- You may also want to read What Wondrous Love Is This and I Lay My Sins on Jesus under Dig into Songs.
Nancy J. Baker
* Definitions from Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 12 Feb 2012. http://www.blueletterbible.org