The Last Supper

W. Terry Varner
August 20, 2017

The Lord’s Supper is to be important to any and all Christians. It is true that some Christians think little about missing observing the Lord’s Supper weekly and more about faithfully doing other things; i.e. shopping, eating out, visiting, vacationing, etc. This is a sad spiritual state resulting in someone’s priorities not being thought out in relation to the importance of the Lord’s Supper to the soul.

Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper in Matthew26:26-28 is set within the observance of the Passover. The Passover was first in importance of the many feasts kept by the Jews. It commemorated Israel’s departure from Egyptian slavery by God’s redemptive acts. It was one of three mandatory feasts God placed upon all male Jews (Ex. 23:17; Deut. 16:16), the other two feasts were the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost and the Feast of the Tabernacles.

Lord’s Supper Instituted. Jesus took unleavened bread, gave thanks, and said, “Take eat; this is my body” (Matt. 26:26); Luke and Paul add that Jesus also said, “which is given for you” (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24). This suggests several things: (1) Jesus knew He was going to be killed, (2) Jesus states that His body would be given as in sacrifice, (3) that His body would be broken just as the bread was broken, and (4) His disciples in eating the bread would benefit from His sacrifice.

Jesus then took the cup and said, “Drink you all of it” (Matt 26:27). The words of Matthew 26:26-27 are very familiar to us because we observe the Lora’s Supper weekly as the Bible commands. Imagine the first time the disciples heard these shocking, startling words. They were not to be understood as literal body and blood but symbolical or representative.

Meaning of the Lord’s Supper. The words in reference to His blood in Matthew 26:28 teaches us three important biblical doctrines:

• “The blood of the new testament [covenant].” At Sinai, Moses took half the blood from a sacrifice and sprinkled it on the altar. He then took the other half of the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words” (Ex. 24:8). This event seals the relationship between God and Israel. When Jesus used these words, He was saying His blood sealed the relationship between Him and His disciples, and all who joined through biblical faith.

• “Poured out for many.” The blood of the covenant poured out for many comes from Isaiah 53:12. Isaiah speaks of a coming suffering servant who would suffer and die, not for His own sins, but for our sins. This is the meaning of Jesus’ words, “this is My blood ... poured out for many” (Matt. 26:28).

• “For the forgiveness of sins.” God promised through the prophet Jeremiah that there would be a new covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31-34). The word covenant and testament are used interchangeably in the Bible. The Israelites of Jesus’ day longed that God would forgive their sins, bring their exile to an end, and bring them into fellowship) with Him. Jesus in essence says, “in the new covenant that I am instituting, My blood which I will shed in my suffering and death will bring about God’s promise of forgiveness.”

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He clearly explains the meaning of what was to happen to Him. His blood would redeem man from the slavery of sin, give forgiveness to the obedient, and in His new covenant restore the relationship man lost with God in Eden. Do not neglect God’s love by neglecting the Supper.