The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
14When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.
15He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16for I tell you, I will not eat it£ until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had 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.”
20And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.£
21But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table.
22For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!”
23Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.
さて時間になって、イエスは食卓に着かれ、使途たちもイエスといっしょに席に着いた。イエスは言われた。「私は、苦しみを受ける前に、あなたがたといっしょに、この過ぎこしの食事をすることをどんなに望んでいたことか。あなたがたに言いますが、過ぎ越しが神の国において成就するまでは、わたしはもはや二度と過ぎ越しの食事をすることはありません。」 そしてイエスは、杯を取り、感謝をささげて後、言われた。「これを取って、互いに分けて飲みなさい。あなたがたに言いますが、今から、神の国が来る時までは、わたしはもはや、ぶどうの実で造った物を飲むことはありません。」 それから、パンを取り、感謝をささげてから、裂いて、弟子たちに与えて言われた。「これは、あなたがたのために与える、わはしのからだです。わたしを覚えてこれを行いなさい。」 食事の後、杯も同じようにして言われた。「この杯は、あなたがたのために流されるわたしの血による新しい契約です。しかし、見なさい。わたしを裏切る者の手が、わたしとともに食卓にあります。人の子は、定められたとおりに去って行きます。しかし、人の子を裏切るような人間はのろわれます。」そこで弟子たちは、そんなことをしようとしている者は、いったいこの中のだれなのかと、互いに議論を始めた。
So Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper in this account by Luke. I’m certain that the Twelve didn’t fully understand what Jesus was doing at this moment, since this was prior to Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. But now, long after our Lord’s resurrection and ascension, we are waiting for Him to return to inaugurate the final chapter of God’s plan, where a new heaven and a new earth are created (Revelations 21), subsequent to the eradication of the sin problem for good.
Through partaking of the communion elements, we are to do so in remembrance of Jesus. But what does this mean? The broken bread is supposed to remind us of the sacrifice He made for us. And the wine is supposed to remind us of not just the blood that he bled for us, but of the new covenant that was sealed by His blood. The new covenant replaces the old one that was established during the original Passover, when God freed His people from bondage to Egypt. The new covenant frees us from the bondage of sin. The first required the blood of the paschal lamb, while the latter required the blood of the Lamb, the Son of God.
It is not sufficient to remember Jesus and be thankful for what He did for us. We are to remember these things, and recommit our lives to Jesus. We need to remember what Jesus was about to do soon after the original communion – Jesus went willingly to unjustly be sentenced to death, tortured and crucified.
Each time we partake of communion, we too, should recommit to pick up our cross daily and follow Him.
It is interesting that entwined with this beautiful gesture by Jesus, is the reminder that there is a traitor that is partaking of this ritual – Judas, who would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver.
Judas was chosen by Jesus to be one of the Twelve after a night of prayer. Judas was taught and then sent to minister with apostolic authority. He enjoyed the same success as the others on those missions to preach, to heal, and to cast out demons. He was in every sense of the word, an apostle. What happened to him? Why did Judas betray Jesus?
Luke tells us in v.3 that Satan entered Judas. Satan has been waiting to tempt Jesus and His followers, ever since he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness at the start of Jesus’ ministry. He found an opening in Judas. Judas’ betrayal has been called an act of greed, disappointment, an attempt to force Jesus to take action against Rome – Whatever it was, Satan was successful in turning Judas.
This should be a warning to us that any one of us can betray Jesus. Satan is waiting to enter us, and he will, if we let him. This is why it is so easy to keep on sinning once we start. This is why it is so hard to stop once we start going down the wrong path.
Along with the righteous nature that God gives us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our sinful nature still coexists within us. It comes out in different ways in us. It might be enjoying being on top and being admired by others. It might be enjoying being served. It might be enjoying luxuries without giving thought or aid to those in need. It might be holding grudges. It might be in extracting retribution or revenge. It might be spending time and/or money in selfish or sinful pleasures.
But Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper so that we can be reminded of: The sacrifice He made for us; the covenant we have with Him; the need to follow Him in the path He took for the Kingdom of God; the expectation of us to serve each other and the church; and to be watchful of our nature to betray Him.
If we do remember these things each time we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we will be able to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. People will see in us, as individuals and as a church, the preview of the Kingdom to come. And some may even be led to be saved through what we do.
The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the great sacrifice that God has made for us and it should inspire us to live lives that God expects us to live.
(the above is a summary of the message shared during our ZOOM worship time last Sunday, April 19th, by Shun Takano.)