When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, "I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God." Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come." He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." After supper he took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
— Luke 22:14-20 NLT
Jesus spoke of his anticipation to eat two special meals with his disciples. The first was the Passover meal that he shared with his disciples as he uttered those words that give new meanings to the bread and wine. This meal was the beginning of his Passion — his journey to the cross in obedience to his Father's will. What lay ahead of him was a horrible ordeal involving great suffering, humiliating rejection, and the anguish of abandonment by his friends. This meal was Jesus' last with his earthly disciples before his passion — the great suffering he endured during his betrayal, arrest, abandonment, trials, and crucifixion. Jesus wanted to use this time to prepare his disciples for all that was ahead. In addition, he anticipated sharing in another meal with his disciples at the fulfillment of the Kingdom after his death. He gave a sense of hope for them to reflect upon after the worst had come. For those of us who live on this side of Jesus' death and resurrection, and who also celebrate the Lord's Supper, Jesus gave us the basis of our three-fold understanding of the Supper for us:
- We recognize our Savior's agony in offering his body and blood to save us.
- We celebrate his victory over death as we celebrate the Supper on the day of his resurrection — Sunday, the first day of the week.
- We anticipate the glory of his return and our sharing in a victory supper with our Savior.
We remember the Lord's death, but not in despair. We remember it as the beginning of his victory for us, and we share in this meal until he returns to bring us home.
O holy and righteous Father, thank you! I praise you for your love in sending your Son to suffer and die so that I could be delivered from my sin. I praise you for the faith Jesus demonstrated as he stared suffering and death in the face. I praise you for the great supper that lies ahead when I get to share in the victory of Jesus' return. Thank you for your love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.