Summary: Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples, but immediately after that, His disciples argued over which of them is the greatest.
Author: Tom Lowe
HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS
Point in Time: Thursday of Jesus’ Final Week
Location: Upper Room
(18)Passover Eaten, Jealousy Rebuked
Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples, but immediately after that, His disciples argued over which of them is the greatest. Jesus stops them and lets them know who will truly be the greatest in the kingdom. He also tells them of the reward they will get for their faithfulness to Him.
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. (Luke 22:14)
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. (Matthew 26:20)
And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. (Mark 14:17)
For centuries, the Jews had celebrated the Passover feast, commemorating their glorious deliverance from Egypt and from death through the blood of the spotless lamb. How vividly this must all have come before the mind of the Savior as He sat down with His apostles to keep the feast for the last time. "Sat down" should be interpreted “reclined.”
And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: (Luke 22:15)
Jesus welcomed this Passover, even though He knew it would be a prologue to his sufferings; he desired it, because it was a step that must be taken before he attained his Father’s glory and man’s redemption. He was happy to do even this part of the will of God.
It meant a great deal to Jesus to spend those hours with His disciples. He loved them (John 13:1), and their presence encouraged Him. He desired to eat it with them so that he could spend a little time with them in private conversation, which was not possible in Jerusalem except on this occasion. He was now about to leave them, but eating this Passover with them before he suffered, would be comforting and help to carry him through his sufferings, and make them easier for him.
He was the true Passover Lamb whose blood would soon be shed for the salvation of all who would trust in Him.
For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. (Luke 22:16)
With this statement, Christ takes his leave of all Passovers, and in so doing indicates that He has done away with all the ordinances of the ceremonial law, of which the Passover was one of the earliest and one of the most prominent. Essentially, He is saying "I will not eat of the Passover, and it will not be celebrated by my disciples, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’’ It is there that the deliverance of His people, not from Egypt, but from all sin and evil, will have been fully accomplished. It is there that they will, at last, have been fully redeemed. It is there also that the fellowship between himself and all the redeemed will have been perfected (Revelations 3:21). How and when was the Passover fulfilled? There were three ways:
1. Christ death on the following day fulfilled the symbolism of the Passover meal. Passover was both a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt and a prophetic type of the sacrifice of Christ. It was fulfilled when Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7), redeeming mankind. At this point, the Passover was laid aside, because now in the kingdom of God the substance had arrived, and He superseded everything that happened before.
2. It was fulfilled in the Lord’s Supper, an ordinance of the gospel kingdom, in which the Passover had its realization, and which the disciples, after the pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost, frequently celebrated (Acts 2:42, 46). They ate of it, and He is said to sup with them and they with him (Rev. 3:20).
3. The complete and final accomplishment of that memorial to liberty will be present in the kingdom of glory, when all God’s spiritual Israel will be released from the bondage of death and sin, and be put in possession of the land of promise.
Norval Geldenhuys comments that “On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus knows that the whole course of His life of self-sacrifice and humiliation on earth is now drawing to an end. But He also knows that the day will come when He as the Triumphant One will lead His followers to the beautiful heritage of complete redemption and blessedness. This full blessedness which will commence with the end of the age has often been represented by the symbol of the celebration of a Messianic banquet. For this reason, the Savior here refers to the celebration of the feast on that coming day when the sovereign dominion of God has come to full revelation and the redemption wrought by the grace of God, as symbolized in the Passover celebrations, has become a blessed and perfect reality.”