Lesson 381: "The Lord's Supper"
On the eve of His death, Jesus instituted a new significant fellowship meal that we observe to this day, and is the highest expression of Christian worship. It is an “acted out sermon”, remembering our Lord’s Death and Resurrection and looking to the future for His return in glory. The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb then was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. God’s command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated (story in Exodus 12).
During the New Testament celebration, Jesus and the disciples sang together, perhaps one of the hallelujah songs (Hebrew-Hallelu Yah-Psalm 111 through 118). Jesus, taking a loaf of bread, gave thanks to God. As He broke it and gave it to them, He said, “Take, eat; this is my Body which is broken for you”. In the same way He took the cup, and when He had supped and gave the cup to them, they drank of it. He said, “This is the New covenant in my Blood; do this whenever you drink of it in remembrance of me”. He concluded the feast by singing a hymn and they went out into the night to the Mount of Olives. It was there that Jesus was betrayed, as predicted, by Judas. The following day He was crucified (Matt. 26:17-27:56).
The Apostle Paul includes this statement; “Whoever eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). To partake of the supper in an unworthy manner may mean to disregard the true meaning of the Bread and Cup or to allow the ceremony to become just that; a ceremony and a dead and formal ritual. Jesus declared that the bread spoke of His broken Body and His body was so torn it was hardly recognizable although not one bone was broken (Ps. 22:12-17, Isa. 53:4-7).
Jesus, the perfect Son, became the fulfillment of the countless Old Testament prophecies concerning a Redeemer (Gen. 3:15, Ps. 22, Isa 53). When He said; “do this in remembrance of me”, He indicated this was a ceremony that must be continued in the future until the return of Christ. The original Passover required the death of a lamb and looked forward to the coming of the Lamb of God and now we have the hope of the coming of the true Lamb of God as King of kings and Lord of lords and should remember this during the Lord’s Supper lest we forget.