The Last Supper
Read Matthew 26:26-29
For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew. 26:28
This was not the first Passover meal Jesus had observed with His disciples; but, it most certainly was his last on this side of the cross. Jews from all over the Roman Empire had come to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover week, so it is likely the disciples had thought they too had come to Jerusalem in light of this celebration. However, Jesus did not come to celebrate the Passover per se, but rather to generate a new “Passover.”
The Passover up to this time commemorated when God had passed over the first born of Israel by the blood of a lamb in Egypt. The Jews passed over from impending death to life thanks to the death of a lamb. Yet, this Passover was only the beginning as it inaugurated a sacrificial system in which animals would constantly have to be slaughtered for the appeasement and forgiveness of sin. Through Jesus’ death, however, the sins of people would be appeased once and for all and all who would believe in Jesus would experience an everlasting passing over by God.
When Jesus broke the bread and said, this is my body, he was communicating that his body would be physically broken. Jesus had already told the disciples in John 6:35, I am the bread of life, and now the bread of life is going to be broken for them (1 Cor. 11:24). When Jesus said the cup represented his blood being poured out, he was fulfilling the sacrificial system as summed up in Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. So as the disciples joined with Jesus in taking the bread and the cup they were joining Him in a new meal – a meal that communicated the sacrifice he was to make for the forgiveness of sins.
Have you eaten with Christ at this new meal? Have you received from him the once-and-for-all forgiveness of sins? As we prepare our hearts for Good Friday and the sacrifice he made for us at the cross, let us too sit at the table with him thinking of the cost. And let us reflect on the following Scripture that helps explain the significance of the cross.
“…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22b
“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all…” Romans 6:10a
“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:27
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18