The Last Passover
We call this event “The Last Supper,” but it was really Jesus’s last celebration of Passover together with his disciples. The Passover commemorated the night that God finally delivered His people from their bondage in Egypt. That night the angel of death visited every home in Egypt, taking the life of the first-born in every family. God had instructed His people to prepare their homes for the night by slaughtering a lamb, splattering its blood on the doorpost of the home and cooking and eating the meat together as a family. When the angel of death saw the blood on the doorpost, he would “pass over” that home. The death of firstborns throughout the land was the last of the plagues that God used to bring mighty Egypt to her knees; a broken Pharaoh released the Hebrew slaves the next day.
The people of God celebrated that event every year, remembering God’s deliverance. What they didn’t know was that every time they slaughtered a lamb, every time they celebrated Passover, they were rehearsing for the moment when God’s Lamb, Jesus, would die to deliver God’s people from their bondage to sin. Jesus knew all this as he sat with his disciples at that last Passover meal on that Thursday night, where they would share the Passover lamb and drink the wine that were part of the Passover ritual.
A ghastly picture of Friday lay unseen on the surface of Thursday’s wine. Ominously the portent floated on the surface of the deep-red liquid…. There was a floating face on the surface of the wine. It was my face. I was still two thousand years away, yet my face was there….
Then the real drama began. The yet-unpierced hand reached for the cup. Thus our Christ began his dying work. I needed life, and so he lifted the cup. Friday was the day they raised up the cross, but Thursday was the day he faced and conquered death for me – all ahead of time….
Jesus had me in mind when he passed the wine to his friends. He served it to a dozen men with Aramaic names. But make no mistake about it: When he drank the cup, he thought of me.
-- Calvin Miller in Once Upon a Tree
We remember this moment every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Communion). We eat the bread to remember his broken body and drink the cup to remember his shed blood.
Our experience in the Lord’s Supper is uniquely personal:
- I remember that it was my sin that made it necessary for Christ to die.
- In breaking the bread between my teeth, I acknowledge that I played a part in bringing such awful physical pain into his life.
- In drinking the juice, I remember that Jesus spilled his blood for me.
- I remember that Jesus had me in mind that night; he was saying then that the death he would die the next day was for my sake. He died that awful death because of his great love for me.