Summary: Description of the Last Supper for celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
I. The Last Supper was a Passover meal.
A. It was traditionally eaten in Jerusalem
1. After dark
2. Except the diaspora – they could eat where they were
B. It was a family gathering
1. In a home – hence the need for Jesus to find a room
2. The elders (father or grandfather) usually lead the ceremony
a. A brotherhood or other close-knit group could celebrate together
b. Jesus and the disciples fit the brotherhood group
3. Around a low U-shaped table
a. In the center of the room
b. Pillows (couches) arranged so people would lay with their head toward the center of the room and their feet pointing away
C. It commemorated the Hebrew deliverance from bondage
Deut 16:1 (NIV) Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night.
2 Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste--so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.
4 Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.
5 You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you
6 except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.
7 Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.
8 For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work.
D. Symbolism in 1st Century Judaism
1. Return from exile
2. forgiveness of sins
3. YHWH’s return to deliver his people
4. Victory over Pharaoh
E. The new symbolism is Jesus’ kingdom movement
1. Going to a new Promised Land
2. Final forgiveness of sin
3. YHWH delivers all mankind
4. Victory over Satan and the world
F. Today the Lord’s supper maintains its symbolic meaning
II. Jesus was prepared for the meal and his impending death
A. He had prepared for the Passover ahead of time
1. Mark says a man carrying water
2. The room was furnished and ready (Mark too)
B. Jesus says “My appointed time is near”
1. He uses the word kairov"
2. Kairos means an occasion rather than extent
3. He is speaking of the great occasion for which he has waited – his crucifixion and resurrection
C. We must also prepare for the meal (1 Cor 11:27-29)
1. Time of reflection
2. Take care of relationships
3. Focus on union with Christ
III. Jesus predicts his betrayer
A. All of the disciples know that Jesus has special knowledge
1. They ask if it is them
2. Formed to receive a negative reply
3. They were grieved
B. Judas incriminated himself
1. Jesus literally says, “You said”
2. Judas would not call Jesus Lord but only Rabbi
C. Many theories why Judas betrayed Jesus
1. Most important is that it was fore-ordained
2. If Judas hadn’t betrayed Jesus someone else would have
IV. The new symbolism is given during the Passover meal
A. The bread is Jesus’ body
1. It is broken to show Jesus’ death
2. The bread originally symbolized redemption from Egypt
3. It’s new symbol was Jesus’ death in our place
B. The wine is Jesus’ blood
1. It is new life under a new covenant
2. See Zech 9:11-12 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
3. It is the symbol of final victory over death
4. Blood = life
C. The disciples would have never believed it was the actual body and blood of Jesus
D. It is a commemoration
1. The early church often celebrated the Lord’s Supper after their love feasts
2. Paul records that Jesus says, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
V. In today’s context of the church
A. A time of mysterious union with each other
1. Fellowship within the church
2. Fellowship with Jesus
B. A time of remembrance