Guess Who Came to Supper
What if I were to invite you over for a special meal and tell you that the menu would consist of four cups of wine, veggies dipped in saltwater, flat, dry cracker-like bread called matzah, bitter herbs, often horseradish (without additives), and romaine lettuce, dipped into charoset (a paste of nuts, apples, pears and wine), a festive meal that may contain time-honored favorites, like chicken soup and gefilte fish? Some of you might come just to see what your pastor is doing serving everyone four cups of wine. Others of you might come to see if I could really eat that unique combination of foods. Some of you are realizing as you heard the menu that this sounds very much like a traditional Seder or Passover meal.
This would be something similar to what Jesus may have eaten on the evening which we’ll be studying shortly. It might be helpful to remember that this meal is unique to the Jewish history and tradition. One Jewish scholar relates it this way: The Passover Feast commemorates Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Jews also celebrate the birth of the Jewish nation after being freed by God from captivity. Today, the Jewish people not only celebrate Passover as a historical event but in a broader sense, celebrate their freedom as Jews.
The Hebrew word Pesach means "to pass over." During Passover, Jews take part in the Seder meal, which incorporates the retelling of Exodus and God's deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Each participant of the Seder experiences in a personal way, a national celebration of freedom through God's intervention and deliverance.
Another Jewish instructor shares:
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover. He is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to set us free from bondage to sin. (; ; ) The blood of Jesus covers and protects us, and his body was broken to free us from eternal death ().
In the Jewish tradition, a hymn of praise known as the Hallel is sung during the Passover Seder. In it is , speaking of the Messiah: "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." (NIV) One week before his death, Jesus said in that he was the stone the builders rejected.
God commanded the Israelites to commemorate his great deliverance always through the Passover meal. Jesus Christ instructed his followers to remember his sacrifice continually through The Lord's Supper.
Two rabbis wrote in 2017: In the Last Supper, Jesus surely is making allusions to the Exodus, as does the Jewish Passover meal, but that event takes a back seat to his revealing himself as “the Passover lamb,” as the object of a new and revolutionary expression of faith. The Jewish Passover meal inaugurates the Jewish people into its history; it prepares them to fulfill the responsibilities of the mitzvot (commandments) given at Sinai. As such, it is an event designed for and limited to the Jewish people. Jesus of Nazareth, in the Last Supper, presents himself as the offering not just for all Israel, but for all of humanity. He is, in short, establishing a unique ritual.
As we look into today’s passage, we are going to witness Jesus preparing the disciples for a major transition from the limited sacrificial system with the required repetition to the true freedom that is found when one places their faith in the ultimate sacrifice by the Lamb of God.
We must remember and proclaim the eternal freedom that is promised in Jesus Christ.
The Desire - 22:14-16
The Desire - 22:14-16
When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.
Luke 22:14We see the setting as they all sit down on the floor around the table to share the Passover meal together. By way of introduction to the evening, Jesus makes a statement of deep emotion in verse 15 and 16.
As we recall from last time, none of the other 10 disciples knew where the setting would be for this Passover meal. Remember Jesus comment in : Nobody takes it [his life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. This was made certain by Jesus in keeping everyone in the dark.
Here, we see that they’ve arrived for the Passover meal. We see the setting as they all sit down on the floor around the table to share the Passover meal together. Historically, there would have been cushions on the floor where the people could get a bit more comfortable. Their feet are away from the table and their heads and hands are close to the table.
The Passover meal was not a hurried event during this time, as it would have been the first time. It probably took place over a number of hours, with visiting , singing, Scripture, etc. We’ve been blessed to have seen on a number of occasions an explanation and visual of the various parts of the Passover meal by our friend from Chosen People Ministries.
We remember that the Passover had as part of the menu the Passover lamb. Jesus will be, as John the Baptist stated, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. John MacArthur states: The message of Passover is that God delivers through the judgment of sin by the death of an innocent substitute.
MacArthur, John. MacArthur New Testament Commentary Set (MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 27786-27787). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
By way of introduction to the evening, after everyone was down by the table, Jesus makes a statement of deep emotion in verse 15 and 16.
And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
It wasn’t because of He was hungry. He absolutely knew the incredible suffering that was ahead of Him. Jesus had celebrated this every year. But now, Jesus knows that this will be the last time He participates in this until it is completely fulfilled in the kingdom of God. As John MacArthur comments: In a few hours He would go from eating again a sacrificial lamb to dying as the one true Lamb of God to validate the New Covenant.
He also knew of the incredible love He and the Father had for humanity. I believe this all ties in with what the writer of Hebrews was saying when he wrote, . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross . . . Knowing that the Passover feast was looking backwards to what God did in delivering Israel from their slavery in Egypt, Jesus is creating a transition at this point. This Passover feast is completely different than the traditional seders. We will see this in the following verses. What makes it even more different is the fact that this is looking forward to what Jesus is going to do on the cross in providing deliverance from humanity’s slavery to sin. And the ultimate fulfillment of this will be when all the saints are gathered together in the Kingdom of God.
What makes this so uniquely different from the regular Passover meals?
The Description - 22:17-20
The Description - 22:17-20
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and 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.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
Listen to how one scholar describes a typical Passover meal. The traditional Passover feast began with a thanksgiving, which was followed by the first cup of wine. They then ate some bread dipped in the bitter herbs, sang and drank the second cup. This was followed by the eating of the roasted lamb and the bread, the drinking of the third cup, and the singing of . The feast ended with the drinking of the fourth cup (v. 17). It was then that Jesus gave new meaning to the bread and the wine and instituted the Lord’s Supper ().
Verse 17 most likely would have been the first cup which is commonly known as the cup of blessing. This is a symbol of God’s great blessings as seen in fruitfulness and joy.
The traditional Passover feast began with a thanksgiving, which was followed by the first cup of wine. They then ate some bread dipped in the bitter herbs, sang and drank the second cup. This was followed by the eating of the roasted lamb and the bread, the drinking of the third cup, and the singing of . The feast ended with the drinking of the fourth cup (v. 17). It was then that Jesus gave new meaning to the bread and the wine and instituted the Lord’s Supper ().
Then to show the transition more clearly, we see His words in verse 18 which shows that this will not happen in the same way again until He establishes His kingdom. Then in verses 19-20, Jesus begins to explain the new significance of this as the New Covenant. Bread pictures things that are earthly, fragile, and subject to decay, symbolizing the reality that the Son of God took on human form and became subject to death.
You see, the Old Covenant is ending. All of the social, ceremonial, dietary, and Sabbath laws are being replaced by the New Covenant. The moral laws will continue, as God’s righteousness and holiness never changes. Now there are no more reasons to retain all the rituals and traditions, even as we’ll see later when the temple curtain is split from top to bottom. The Old Covenant was a shadow of the fulfilment to be found in Jesus Christ.
We see this as Jesus explains the significance of the bread and the cup and the completely new meaning behind it. This is the new covenant in my blood. No longer is this about a four-legged lamb that was sacrificed to cover the sins; it is about the Son of Man shedding His blood to take away sin. This is a covenant that will be sealed by His blood. This is where the transition begins in the inauguration of the Church, which is birthed in Acts.
On this, possibly the fourth cup, Jesus explains the significance of the bread and the cup and the completely new meaning behind it. This is the new covenant in my blood. No longer is this about a four-legged lamb that was sacrificed to cover the sins; it is about the Son of Man shedding His blood to take away sin. This is a covenant that will be sealed by His blood. This is where the transition begins in the inauguration of the Church, which is birthed in Acts.
Luke’s accounting of this is not as in-depth as the other gospels. We do know that in this, Jesus spends time talking about the past, the present, and the future. In fact, when we celebrate communion, we do the same thing. In the past, we reflect and give thanks for what Jesus did for us on the cross as He paid the penalty for all of our sins. We are told to do this in remembrance of Me. In other words, we must remember and never forget. We know from the Old Testament, and sadly, from many of our own life experiences, that whenever God’s people begin to forget the amazing things which God has done for us, we begin to slip into unholy living.
We also are to look at the future when we celebrate communion. We comment about that glorious wedding feast that we will experience when we are in heaven. We are going to be celebrating the wedding of Christ and the Church, which is His bride.
The past and future seem fairly obvious to us. What about the present? We give God glory for the current blessing of the constant presence of Christ in our lives and the joy that is ours beyond all understanding. We praise God for all the blessings that are ours in Christ.
Once again, Jesus states that He will not partake in this until the kingdom of God comes. In the earlier verses, he spoke of not eating this Passover until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Here he speaks of not drink[ing] of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.
This New Covenant, like the Old Covenant was made official by the shedding of blood. When Jesus died on the cross, the New Covenant began. Jesus truly was an innocent substitute who met all the requirements of God for justice to be dispensed.
On this fourth cup, Jesus explains the significance of the bread and the cup and the completely new meaning behind it.
Sadly, there is one more thing which must be done for the fulfillment of all this to occur.
The Double-Crossing - 22:21-23
The Double-Crossing - 22:21-23
“But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.
Here is where things might have become totally awkward. In essence, Jesus has stated that in that upper room, one of the twelve would betray Him. And the one who betrays Him will pay an incredible price. Even in the tense of the verb betraying shows the process is right there and is taking place already.
We might wonder why Jesus used the phrase the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. Due to our hurried culture with the isolation we choose to experience as we quickly gobble down food to go on to the next thing at hand, we can easily miss this. However, in the culture of Jesus’ time, and in many cultures today, even among those who make a meal an event, eating together with someone meant a lot more. There was a sense of togetherness and friendship, an understanding that there was security and peace among those present. So, if someone was actually going to betray someone else with whom you were eating, would describe something so heinous it was nearly unthinkable. Yet, this exact thing was prophesied in : Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
The awkwardness is also seen in that the one who will double-cross Jesus is participating in this meal as if everything is just fine. R.C. Sproul makes it clear that this was not forced upon Judas, but it was his choice: Jesus clarifies that point for us; this is something that has to take place in the determinate counsel of God, but God did not force Judas to an uncharacteristic act of evil, rather God works through Judas’ evil intentions. This does not excuse Judas in any way, rather he hears the oracle of doom pronounced by the Prophet of prophets, Jesus himself.
Jesus clarifies that point for us; this is something that has to take place in the determinate counsel of God, but God did not force Judas to an uncharacteristic act of evil, rather God works through Judas’ evil intentions. This does not excuse Judas in any way, rather he hears the oracle of doom pronounced by the Prophet of prophets, Jesus himself.
We can look throughout all four Gospels, and we will never see Jesus tell anybody that the betrayer would be Judas. This could be for several reasons. It may have been to keep the others from trying to stop Judas or from doing him harm. It could be that Jesus was continuing to show how deep His love was. Even as we reflect on the Judas’ life together with Jesus, we see that Judas was among the rest who had been served by Jesus at the footwashing and many other events where they were all blessed by Jesus’ miraculous activities. Judas had been listening to the same words which the other disciples had heard. Judas was even sitting right next to Jesus on the left side. It appears that in Jesus’ great love, He was affording Judas every possibility there was for him to repent and follow Jesus wholeheartedly. This was even with Jesus knowing that Judas would double-cross Him.
Verse 23 shows the confusion among the disciples. shows the hypocrisy of Judas as he asks Jesus if it is he, to which Jesus states that it is him. also shows the absolute total intentionality and control Jesus had of the whole situation when Jesus told Judas to go do his business quickly. You see, Jesus was resolute in His focus. He would finish that for which He had come to this earth. He would fulfill the Scriptures completely in even the process.
Though Judas betrayed Jesus; though the Jewish religious leaders and their followers plotted and schemed to have Jesus destroyed; though the Roman leaders allowed the death penalty by crucifixion to take place; though Satan was the instigator since the beginning of the fall of man to stop God’s plan to redeem humanity; God is sovereign. And in His sovereignty, He showed His great love for us by sending His Son, as a man to this fallen world. Jesus, chose to limit Himself while on this planet and was prone to every weakness known to man, yet He never sinned. Jesus never took a side road by accident. Jesus never took matters into His hands to avoid the Father’s commands. He willingly gave His life that we might live.
“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
For all who are born again, we are reminded by Jesus’ own actions that We must remember and proclaim the eternal freedom that is promised in Jesus Christ. When opportunities are placed in our path, we live and speak the life giving words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What are those words of freedom?
Those words of freedom are:
Whoever believes in Me shall not perish but have eternal life.
We also must speak those harsh words of warning without any sugar-coating:
Whoever does not believe has been judged already, because He has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Because we are obviously not God and cannot know a person’s heart, we must approach everyone as having the potential to become a child of God. Nobody is beyond Christ’s forgiveness until they have reached that point of no return, of which only Jesus knows.
What about the person who has not taken the step to repent and to turn their lives over to God in the Name of Jesus Christ? I want you to recognize the incredible love Jesus kept showing toJudas, giving him every affordable opportunity to follow Him. Take heart that Jesus continues to pursue you so that you might have that eternal freedom that is promised in Jesus Christ. Understand that Jesus has already paid the penalty and the price for all of your sins. But don’t do as Judas when he provided the ultimate rejection of Jesus. Instead, humble yourself and accept that free gift which Jesus offers you. Repent of your sins and accept the Savior’s offer to become a child of God. Turn your back on that which the world offers which has no eternal value. Put your eyes upon Jesus who offers eternal life.
My friends, if you know Jesus, celebrate your freedom that the following video describes. If you don't know Jesus, why not give your life to Him today and experience the freedom that this video describes.
My friends, if you know Jesus, celebrate your freedom that the following video describes. If you don't know Jesus, why not give your life to Him today and experience what this video describes.