“When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this is remembrance of Me.”
Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed.”
Everything Jesus did was at the perfect time of the Father, the “kairos” time, and at this hour when He sat down to eat the Passover meal with His twelve disciples, Heaven set in motion a sequence of events which would change the fate of man and the course of history for eternity. The precious Passover Lamb of God was soon to be sacrificed at the 6th hour of the (Jewish) day, Luke 23:44 (12 pm) when the sun was at its height, and the veil in the temple was torn in two. For 33 years the Supreme Passover Lamb had been prepared for this eternal sacrifice, which was for all men and for all time.
The Passover which had been celebrated for hundreds of years had been a shadow of the real sacrifice to come. Jesus said He would not partake of the Passover again until it was “fulfilled” in the Kingdom of God. Only when He had given His life as a sacrifice, risen again, and ascended to Heaven would the meaning of Passover be truly fulfilled. Only when the eternal blood of Jesus was smeared on the mercy seat in the temple in Heaven would the new covenant be established. Jesus said “It is finished”, as He gave up His life upon the cross because all that man ever needed for his salvation had been done. No more would people have to offer up animal sacrifices or mortify themselves in anyway, or carry the burden of their sins (Hebrews 10:1-4). When the Lamb was sacrificed, there was nothing further to be done. He would soon see the final fulfillment of His act of love, the divine Passover, when He sat at the right hand of the Father in Eternity, and saw saved souls of every tribe and tongue coming in to the Kingdom and worshipping God in Spirit and in truth, people who had passed over from eternal death to eternal life.
Jesus said He had fervently desired to share this meal with the twelve closest to Him. Jesus never did things half heartedly. He was fervent and passionate about calling people to repentance, about ministering His love, healing, freedom and salvation, and fervently fiery when He cleansed the temple and cast out everything that defiled it. His fervent desire to fellowship and share the Passover meal with His disciples was because of His fervent desire to show them the power of the inheritance they were to receive – victory over sin and death, through His broken body and His shed blood. He wanted to illustrate through the partaken meal how the people of the world would partake of the Lamb of God and drink and eat of Him.
Jesus passed the cup to His friends to divide among themselves. His blood is an eternal and ever sufficient sacrifice that can never run out. His blood is alive today on the mercy seat in Heaven. The twelve who partook of the cup that day, as well as the millions since then have drunk of the precious blood of the Lamb of God and received new life and salvation in Him. There is no sin the blood cannot cleanse, no conscience it cannot purify, hallelujah! Jesus said to the apostles that He would only “drink the fruit of the vine” when the Kingdom of God comes”. He was talking about the new season of the new Covenant, and the new wine of the born again, Spirit filled life which has become accessible to us all because of the precious blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
Jesus gave thanks for the bread, broke it, and passed it to His disciples. When He multiplied the loaves and the fishes on two previous occasions, He lifted them up to God, gave thanks, and broke them to feed thousands. He did the same here when He lifted up the bread and gave thanks to God. He spoke forth the miracle multiplication of His Body broken not only for the 12 apostles present there, but for every person who believed and received the often incomprehensible but very real sacrifice upon the cross. He asked us to continue to give thanks and break bread with our fellow believers in remembrance of Him..
According to Luke’s account in this passage of Scripture, Jesus offered up the cup a second time as He declared that this was the beginning of a new covenant in His blood. The old covenant which had been sealed with the blood of bulls and lambs was ended. A new dispensation of the Grace of God had begun! Jesus was heading for His suffering and the pain of the cross, and this is what the second cup represented. However, He had already given His friends another cup which they had shared with Him. It was the cup of His fervent joy in laying down His life for His friends. Hebrews 12:2 say: “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” To Jesus, the extreme pain and humiliation of the cross paled into insignificance when compared to the extreme joy of obeying the Father, walking in His plan, and fulfilling every aspect of His will. It is amazing and wonderful! Even the knowledge that His betrayer sat before Him did not take away from the joy of unconditional submission to the will of God. He was flowing with Heaven’s plan, with what had been determined, and He knew the outcome would be good – Hallelujah!
Friend, there are a few things I feel the Spirit saying to us through this Scripture today:
1) Following Jesus means eating and drinking of Him, acknowledging that He is our source of life and strength, and walking in the power of His blood sacrifice from day to day. The Spirit of God would encourage you today to keep your eyes on Jesus, to stand firm on the power of the cross, and covered by the power of His blood. If you identify with His broken body and His shed blood, you belong to Him, and nothing can separate you from the power of His love. You are His forever, His precious and adored Bride! No weapon formed against you shall prosper!
2) Living in Jesus means we partake of the cup of joy as well as the cup of suffering. This is the dual reality of the Christian life, that there is always extreme joy, even while there may be suffering. Or there may be some suffering because of the radical joy and love we experience in Jesus. We may go through some difficult and painful valleys, but there is always the joy of His presence. Sometimes it is hard to readily obey but pleasing the heart of the Father brings us that very special joy which is unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). This is the joy of Jesus – that He fulfilled all the requirements of the Father, and laid His life down as our Precious Passover Lamb!
Dear friend, you may have been experiencing difficult times but know that God is taking you on to higher heights. He placed you on the scales and found you faithful. He has seen your sincere heart before Him and it delights Him! You did not turn down the cup of suffering and just sip from the cup of joy. You took them both and overcame! The disciples had the freedom either to drink or to turn down the cup if they wanted to, but as Jesus drank, they too drank. When we receive His love on our lives, we receive the freedom to drink from the cup and eat of the bread of life. Jesus fervently loves to sit and fellowship with you, to sit and break bread with you. He has given us His Spirit that we may know all the warmth and reality of His presence. He has promised that whether we drink of the cup of joy or of the cup of suffering, we will never be alone; He will always be with us, giving us strength to overcome, and He causing our cup of joy to overflow!
I want to drink of His cup and drink deep. I want to be all that Jesus is, filled with extreme joy even while facing and overcoming every trial and test, and I pray the same for you. May His extreme joy surround, cover and fill everything you are and everything you do. May you overcome every difficulty and rejoice always in His extreme love for you, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 13 March 2012