LD 28: The Lord’s Supper and the Passover
by Rev Arie den Hartog
Read: Luke 22:7 – 20
Jesus purposely instituted the Lord’s Supper at the time when He was celebrating the last passover with His disciples. Jesus knew that He would fulfill the passover. He would sacrifice Himself as the great passover lamb.
It is significant that the passover was a meal. It was a covenantal meal in which God was spiritually present with His people. There were other ceremonies like that in the Old Testament, combining a sacrifice and a meal. The main part of the passover was the eating of the passover lamb, which in the days of Jesus, had first been slain and offered in the temple. It then was brought to the upper room where Jesus and His disciples were gathered. The sacrifice lamb was a type of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the sacrifice of the lamb which testified of the necessity of atonement for sin, God’s people could not have fellowship with God. God is holy and His people are sinners. In order for the people of God to have fellowship with God, first of all their sins must be removed by the death of the lamb. God is the absolutely Holy One. No sinner can have fellowship with this God without being consumed because of his sins.
After the lamb had been sacrificed, it was eaten by a family or a group of God’s people together. That this ceremony was a meal was a sign of the blessed reality of God’s covenant fellowship with His people. The lamb of the passover was not merely to be looked at, but also to be eaten by those who were celebrating together. In this celebration, there was also bread and wine. This whole ceremony depicted the beautiful truth that we have covenant fellowship with God through the sacrifice of the lamb. This covenant fellowship involved partaking of the spiritual blessings of the covenant, symbolized by eating the lamb, eating the bread, and drinking the wine.
At the time of Jesus, the passover was an elaborate and solemn ceremony. Every part of this ceremony also had great spiritual meaning. There was expressing of thanksgiving to God. It included the singing of a hymn or a psalm. This hymn was one of the Old Testament Psalms which end with the words, “Hallelujah praise ye Jehovah.” Psalms 113 or 118 may have been sung during the ceremony.
At the end of the passover meal, Jesus took the bread that was commonly part of this meal, broke some of it, passed it to His disciples, and commanded them to eat of it. He also took the cup of wine which was passed around several times during this celebration, blessed it and passed it to His disciples, and commanded them to drink of it. Jesus commanded that this simple ceremony be repeated over and over again in the church until the day when He would come again at the end of the world. The broken bread of this ceremony was a simple sign of the body of Christ which would be broken on the cross. Even though scripture prophesied that not a bone of Jesus would be broken in sacrificing Himself on the cross, Jesus suffered the agony of the piercing of His hands and feet. Later, after His death, one of the soldiers attending the crucifixion pierced His side with a sword. The wine symbolized the precious blood of Jesus’ great and precious sacrifice, and all the agony and suffering this involved for Jesus. In the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember by the broken body and shed blood of Christ, all of this suffering and agony of Christ and the great salvation which it accomplished for us. By the suffering of Jesus Christ, all the benefits of salvation become ours through our faith in Him.
Originally posted here.