Luke 22:14-23 The Passover & the New Covenant
14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the 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 say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 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.” 20 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. 21 But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
The Passover happens on a Thursday evening when Jesus and the disciples gather. Here, Jesus teaches what His death would mean to the beginning of the New Covenant. The New Covenant seals and insures believer’s abundant life and eventual victory. Today’s passage teaches that even though Christ’s sacrifice is completed, the battle for souls and abundant living rages on. However, the New Covenant of the blood grants believers protection and authority over all evil.
I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer – Jesus expresses His earnest desire to eat the Passover meal with His disciples one last time before He goes to the cross. The Passover signifies the deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery as it first began in the days of Moses. A lamb was sacrificed and its blood smeared on the doorposts protecting the children of Israel from the angel of death. After which, the people left Egypt in haste while the angel of death slaughtered the first-born male of every Egyptian family. The blood of the lamb smeared on the doorposts effectively protected the children of Israel by causing the angel of death to pass over them. This Passover meal has special significance to Jesus, firstly because He desires fellowship with His beloved disciples, for He has been eating the Passover meal with His family and disciples for the last 30 some years. As the family gathers to eat the Passover, it is a sharing of hope for Israel’s deliverance. As this will be the last meal of His mortal life, He will miss the fellowship of His disciples until the time when God fully establishes His rule through His kingdom in the new heaven and new earth: until the kingdom of God comes.
This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me – The second reason why this Passover meal is significant is due to the fact that He is Himself the Passover Lamb that is about to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Jesus specifically said, “This is my body which is given for you” while breaking the bread to symbolize the lamb being slaughtered. After that night, although He will no longer be with them, they must continue to eat the Passover in the same manner as if He is in the midst of them: do this in remembrance of Me. The breaking of bread signifies His suffering and His empathy with the suffering of the world until His reappearance in the full manifestation of God’s kingdom. Jesus instructs His disciples to eat the Passover meal with remembrance of His body being broken and to look forward to their eventual reunion in the kingdom, until the enemies of God are put away forever.
This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood – While the bread signifies His suffering and His temporal absence, the cup looks forward to the full manifestation of His kingdom. The contents of the cup which is poured out symbolizes the blood of Jesus being shed that seals the new covenant that insures the believers’ eventual reunion with Christ in His kingdom. In doing so, they may continue to look forward with assurance for the day of reunion with Christ in the kingdom.
- The Passover shows us that even Christ has to wait for what He desires. Some believers are accustomed to possessing what they desire where they want it, and when they want it; they find waiting meaningless and everything should fall into place immediately. However, Christ’s last Passover meal shows us that even He has to wait until God’s appointed time before He could eat with His disciples again: I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Therefore, we need to understand that timing is the essence if things are to turn out perfect; and it has to be on God’s terms and timing, not ours. Therefore, we need to submit our endeavors and desires to God, while waiting and trusting that He will bring it to pass in good time.
- Even though the body of Christ is broken and the Sacrifice is complete, the battle with evil still rages on. Some believers think that Christ has already finished the work and won the war against devil. And since there is no more fighting to do on their part, they let their arms down and shut their eyes to the battle that is raging before them. These churchgoers confess Christ’s victories while ignoring the responsibility of personal sanctification and remaining vigilant towards temptations. Christ’s impending betrayal connotes and heightens this ongoing battle with evil: But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. Christ instructed that the Passover meal (or Holy Communion) to be taken on a regular basis so that believers could remember His body being broken for them: do this in remembrance of Me. By remembering Christ’s suffering and His betrayal, and we persevere in our ongoing battles while looking forward to the eventual victory over all evil.
- The blood of the new covenant that is shed for us seals our status as sons of God forever. The new covenant effectively wipes our sins, and deprives the devil the right to enter into our territory to attack us. In partaking the cup, we remind ourselves of the ongoing covenant and protection over us. The new covenant of the blood gives believers authority over the powers of darkness.
- When you are faced with an unsolvable problem, imagine the cross of Christ standing between you and the problem. Let the peace of God fill your heart and the wisdom of the Spirit enter your mind. This will be the way that you treat all your problems going forward.
- Are you experiencing some kind of suffering and set back? As you remember Jesus’ body being broken and who suffered the same trials and set backs, the Spirit strengthens us with peace and hope.
Dear Lord, every time I partake in the Holy Communion, I remember your body broken for me and your blood shed for me. The bread symbolizes your suffering and the ongoing battle that must be attended to. The cup symbolizes the covenant that insures my protection and my authority over all evil. In Christ, I am guaranteed an abundant life and accomplish my life’s calling. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.