Jesus is the Son of Man
Last Supper, First Communion
Grab your Bibles if you will and open with me to Luke chapter 22.
So, as we continue through Luke 22, we see that all the pieces have been put in place. These are the last days, even the last day in the life of Jesus. The divine, eternal plan was coming to fulfillment and everything was taking shape.
Jesus and the twelve were in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Jesus had been teaching and rebuking and correcting the scribes and the chief priests and all the other religious leaders and the they were fed up, after three years of this. They were ready to kill him. So Judas went to them and made plans to betray Jesus. Jesus sent Peter and John to secretly prepare the Passover meal. Now, the Passover meal was ready for Jesus and the twelve. Nobody knew where they were meeting so Jesus would not be interrupted before or during the meal.
And that brings us current so far in Lukes Gospel. So now, lets go ahead and look at this mornings passage, :uke chapter 22, verses 14 through 23. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version. I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along so that you are reading the Word of God for yourself.
Luke 22:14-23, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit records:
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[b] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c] 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
May God Bless the Reading of His holy and inspired Word.
So we pick up with Jesus and his disciples at the Passover dinner and ready to enjoy the company and food. Jesus reclined with his disciples. How they would do this in those days is that they would lean forward on their left elbows, with their feet behind them and their heads facing the table and they would eat with their right hands.
Jesus tells them that he “earnestly desired” to have this meal with them. He strongly wished. He needed this to happen. And the disciples wouldn’t have quite understood this because they would have shared Passover meals before. They didn’t realize what this meal would become, what it represented or that this was the last meal they would share together.
This was the last chance that Jesus would have to share a meal with his closest friends. This would be the last chance that Jesus would have to fellowship with them as a family, as a group of close friends. This would be his last chance to teach them, warn them, train them. And this is why he took such great pains to make sure this dinner would take place and that there would be no interruptions.
This was the was the last Passover meal before Jesus death and resurrection that would be the fulfillment of the Passover. Jesus was what the Passover was looking forward towards.
Jesus is the unblemished and spotless lamb that would be sacrificed once and for all for the forgiveness of sins.
It is Jesus blood that covers us so that the wrath of God passes over us.
It is His fulfillment of the Passover that frees us from the bondage of and slavery to sin, and allows us to enter the promised land that is the kingdom of God.
This is what much of the Old Testament is pointing towards. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The Son of God.
This is what they had all been waiting for. This night is when, in my opinion, we see the birth of the church of Jesus Christ. Many will say that happened at Pentecost, but tonight is the night that Jesus institutes the New Covenant.
The rest of what the Old Testament was pointing to is Christ’s glorious Second Coming. This is one of the key differences between Passover and Communion. The Passover is looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah, the promised savior. Communion remembers the first, commerates it and look towards his second coming. Jesus here is looking forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb, as its put in Revelation 19:9.
So, after the Passover meal, Jesus explicitly sets up what we call communion. This is a fully communal thing. This is not an individual thing, but is intended and instituted to take place among the church family, among fellow believers, fellow Christians, not alone and not amongst or including the general public. This is also not for the “worthy,” the put together, or the perfect Christians. This is for all believers, warts and all.
Jesus and these disciples have spent three years together. Traveling, sharing meals, sharing lodging, sharing ups and downs. Jesus specifically has been sharing His power, his knowledge, the Kingdom of God. Now, this night, he is sharing his blood and his body. Nothing is being held back, not even Jesus’ life.
And Jesus here uses symbolism and figurative language. And he does so in order to help us understand what communion is and what it represents.
He tells the disciples, the bread is my body. Like this bred will be broken apart, Jesus body will be broken on the cross. Like this bread will be shared with the disciples, his body and sacrifice will be shared with all believers. This bread is given to the disciples by Jesus, just as his life and his broken body on the cross are given over by Jesus.
The bread does not become his body. Jesus is not physically present in the elements, like some claim he is. But the bread represents what he did, what he gave and what happened to him.
Jesus says, do this in remembrance of me. Remember, not just his life, not just his resurrection, not just his ascension. Remember what happened on the cross. As one commentator points out, this shows “the centrality of the cross to the Christian faith.”
And you may ask, Why do we have to continue to be reminded time and time again? Of course, as a Christian, of course I wont forget what Jesus did for me!
But we do. We do forget. If not completely, then practically and we take it for granted, at times. And so Jesus tells us to do this often, is remembrance of him. To intentionally focus and refocus to ground ourselves and remind ourselves exactly what it means that Jesus died on the cross. What it means that he did it for us. What it means that he gave himself up for us and what the results of that are.
And then Jesus takes the cup of wine, remember the cup is often associated with Gods wrath. Jesus takes the cup and says that the wine symbolizes His blood. Jesus blood absorbs Gods wrath. Jesus blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Scripture make it clear, New Testament and Old that the wages of sin is death. Blood needs to be shed for the forgiveness of sins.
The most important day in Old Testament Israel, and maybe today as well, arguably even more than Passover, was the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16 gets into the details, but the gist of it is that one day a year, the people would have the wrath of their sins put upon one goat, whose blood would be sprinkled throughout the temple and the Most High places, and the alter and so on. And then another goat would be brought in, still alive, and the priest would symbolically place the sins of Israel upon this goat and release him into the wilderness.
Again, the point being that it takes blood to cover up and atone for sins. And that’s what Jesus did for us. He shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. This si the cup of the New Covenant.
So, what is the difference between the Old and the New Covenant?
Exodis 24:3-8 tells us the Mosaic Covenant, the convenant that God made through Moses to the people of Israel. IT reads:
3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
This was dependent on the people following the rules that God laid out. And the people could not keep those rules for even one day, just like we cant either. The New Covenant was completely and totally dependent on the work of Christ.
The Old had the laws, the rules of God written in stone, physically written done for people to read. THe New has the law written in our hearts, as the Holy Spirit changes our heart.
The Old was a type, was a shadow, it pointed towards the new. The blood, the sacrifices, all of it, pointed directly at what would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
The Old was not salvific. The sacrifices were made time and time again, over and over. The sacrifices were animal blood and so therefore were not able to atone for human sin.
The Covenant is salvific. Jesus was sacrificed once and for all. He shed his blood; human blood, and he had lived a perfect and sinless life so that he could indeed atone for human sin, the sin of all humanity, or at least the sin of all who would believe.
Jesus fulfills all of the promises, foreshadowing, prophecies and so much more that appears in the Old Testament and the old Covenant.
GotQuestions sums up the differences this way:
the Old Covenant was governed by a law that prescribed correct behavior and that the people continually broke. It contained a sacrificial system that only temporarily removed sins. The sacrifices were administered by priests who represented the people of Israel to God, but the people could not enter God’s presence themselves.
The New Covenant is governed by a law that is internalized by the people of God and energized by His Spirit. The sins of the people are forgiven and removed once and for all by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the people of God have direct, intimate access to Him. Finally, Gentiles who believe are included in the New Covenant.
After Jesus set this up, he tells the twelve, one of you, one of you 12 right here, one of you is going to betray me. Thing about this. You are a group who are closer than family. One of these guys, one of this family, who have been thorough thick and thin together, who have been through good times and bad, who have thorough easy times and hard. One of them will betray that trust and that bond that has been forged.
Jesus makes it clear, I already know all this. I Know its going to happen. I am not surprised by this. Its factored into the plan and I am allowing this to happen.
However, that does not excuse the guilt or responsibility of the one who will be doing the betraying. This does not alleviate the sin that will be and is being committed.
This statement, that one of them would betray him, shook the disciples. They started questioning amongst themselves who it might be. I imagine it was probably equal parts self reflection, thinking, Could I be capable of doing what He is saying? And blame passing, I bet it will be Peter, Jesus did just call him Satan not too long ago…
The truth is that each and every one of us is guilty of betraying God. Everytime we sin we betray his love. RC Sproul says :
Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself.
All of us are guilty of committing treason against the King, of betraying him. Jesus gave his life for those who betrayed him. We showed us the epitome of loving your enemies. We, the church, the universal church, all believers, we are a church of forgiven betrayers.
And that’s one of the things that we are to remember. Jesus gave himself, shed his blood, purchased forgiveness, for us and for you, if you believe, as much as he did for the disciples he was talking to that very night. He loves you enough to allow the wrath, the justly deserved wrath of God Passover you and I and all who believe. That is what we celebrate and remember at the Lords Supper, the sacrament that he instituted that very night as communion.