Read: Luke 22:7-20
The first part of the Last Supper in today’s reading includes preparation for the meal and the serving of the bread and wine. The gospel writers each give us a different perspective on events during this significant evening and there is much to consider. I hope you find some time and space to linger in the upper room for a moment.
Celebrations of the Passover are significant, this is a huge part of Jewish culture. Luke tells us the disciples are separating themselves from their families to celebrate the day of Unleavened Bread. Imagine a dozen families whose father is absent on Christmas day because he was celebrating with a famous teacher. That might sound a bit trite, but I wonder what the families thought about the disciples’ personal commitment to Jesus.
Jesus asks His two closest disciples to go and make preparations, a process they all knew well. Ask yourself why Luke included verses 10-12 in his rendering of the narrative surrounding the Last Supper.
He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22:12
Mark’s version is similar: Mark 14:13-15, while Matthew’s is only one verse, Matthew 26:18. Luke promised to give us an orderly account of events to help us understand all the Jesus did. In this case, it seems he wants us to know once again that Jesus can see into the future, that events which are about to unfold are clear to Him. This is significant since He’s about to tell them some other news that’s not so good in Part 2.
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. Luke 22:13
“Just as Jesus had told them.” It’s interesting that we don’t read words counter to this anywhere. For example, there’s nothing that implies Jesus is ever surprised at any event. Sure, He is emotional at times, but that’s not the same as being surprised.
Jesus told them many things. We get to flip back through pages and check the notes, the disciples were living through all that Jesus told them in real-time. All this is in preparation for the next few verses:
And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15-16
I’m sure it took a while for the disciples to appreciate the significance of this statement, so don’t feel bad when it has to swim around in your mind before it makes sense. Jesus is about to pay the final price for which the entire sacrificial system was created. That might not resonate with us, but this is a complete change for the Jewish nation. This is significant.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
In a moment, a handful of words spoken in a room separated from families and followers, Jesus changed the course of history.
No more Passover sacrifices will be required. He is about to become the perfect sacrifice.
I’m sure I still don’t appreciate the weight of this moment, but I will continue to try as I read more, as I play songs that honor Christ, as I fast and pray.
Lord, make this moment real for all of us who call ourselves Christ followers.