Summary: 1) Passover Remembrance: (Luke 22:14–18) and 2) Communal Remembrance (Luke 22:19–20)
For the Remembrance Day celebrations, this past Friday, veterans, and those of the general public, gathered to remember and pay tribute to those who served their country and those who continue to serve. Etched in the stone monuments before them are the battles and casualties of the loved ones. Many volunteered for duty and gave their lives so that we may live.
Among the many unforgettable statements the Lord Jesus Christ made was His declaration in John 10:17–18:” For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again”. No one took Jesus’ life. He gave it up. He was not a victim, but willingly offered His life in complete agreement with and submission to God the Father. He died according to the divine plan, orchestrating every act of both enemies and friends to accomplish God’s purpose. He died as the true Passover lamb, whose sacrifice paid the full penalty for the sins of all who would ever believe.
The record of this event in Luke’s gospel occurs on the Thursday night of Passion Week, the beginning of the eight-day-long celebration of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was also the night before Christ’s crucifixion, and His final gathering with the apostles before His death, since He would be arrested later that evening after the Passover meal. This section of Luke’s gospel marks the major turning point of redemptive history. Jesus brought the Old Covenant to an end and inaugurated the New Covenant. Thus, He and the disciples celebrated the last legitimate Passover, and the first Lord’s Supper. Jesus culminated the celebration looking back to God’s miraculous historical deliverance of Israel from Egypt and inaugurated a new memorial, looking to the cross and the eternal deliverance accomplished for His people there.
Some would say that remembrance is a waste of time: Just get on with enjoying the present and move on. Remembering the sacrifice of those who gave their lives so that we may live has tremendous impact. When we do we get a clearer picture of what caused and causes the events that lead to death and strife. We understanding what sacrifice means and why it is the only path to life and in this remembrance we are called to live in a way that honors this. Christ calls us to see how our sin caused His death, why He gave His life and Remember the Cross in communion. To accomplish this, Christ calls us to 1) Passover Remembrance: (Luke 22:14–18) and 2) Communal Remembrance (Luke 22:19–20)
1) Passover Remembrance: (Luke 22:14–18)
Luke 22:14–18 14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (ESV)
The message of Passover is that God delivers through the judgment of sin by the death of an innocent substitute. All the Old Testament sacrifices were symbols of that reality. But those animal sacrifices were not, in themselves, sufficient substitutes, or such offerings would have ceased (Heb. 10:1–2). No person has ever been delivered from divine judgment by the death of an animal (Heb. 10:4). Through the centuries, the people of Israel waited for the sacrifice that would be satisfactory to God, the one to which all the countless animal sacrifices had pointed. That long-awaited sacrifice would be offered the next day, Friday, while countless thousands of lambs were again being sacrificed on the Passover. At that very time, God offered His sacrifice. He poured out His wrath against sinners on an innocent substitute—the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus was the perfect, final, and complete sacrifice for sin, making this the last Passover approved by God. Symbolic animal sacrifices pointing to the true sacrifice were no longer necessary once the Savior had been offered. Luke’s treatment of Passover and the Lord’s Supper is brief, since the Old Testament contains a lot of information about Passover, and Paul had already described the Lord’s Supper in detail at least five years before Luke’s gospel when he wrote 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 10, 11). The hour they commenced this Passover meal was sunset, the time when Passover always officially began. Between three and this hour (about 6 pm) the lamb was killed (Ex 12:6 (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 123). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)