During the last meal Jesus had with His disciples, He spoke about the new covenant, or agreement, between God and humanity. This covenant had been described by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Moses had been given the law that God’s people were to obey. In Genesis 26:5, God said, “Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” But the Israelites failed. God would make a new, spiritual covenant with them. He had promised to increase and bless the children of Israel through Abraham’s offspring. His Son, Jesus, fulfilled that promise, and continues to add to Abraham’s offspring even now. Those who repent of their sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior add to the number of those in God’s family.
The Jewish people celebrate the Passover during the Hebrew month of Nisan (March/April). The Passover meal, known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread, took place on the 14th day when the people would slaughter an unblemished lamb for the Passover meal on the 15th day. They would break no bone of the lamb. They would remember how God liberated them from Egyptian captivity. The lamb reminded them of the 10th plague God sent before the end of their captivity in Egypt. He had commanded the Israelites to brush lambs’ blood on the doors, so the Angel of Death would not take their first-born, but “pass over” the homes with the blood.
Do: The Lord’s Supper is reserved for those who have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation. As His children, He asks us to examine our hearts, confess our sins, and resolve issues we have with church members before we take part. Imagine it is sundown, the beginning of Passover, and you are reclining at the table with Jesus. Take some of the bread and drink the juice just as His disciples would have done during that first communion.
Reflect & Engage: Jesus’ last meal became the first communion. He washed the disciples’ feet, and in so doing, He would impress on them the need for a servant’s heart in ministry. Jesus had taught them using parables meant to show a hidden truth. He revealed the deep truths to His disciples. The unleavened bread had no yeast and symbolized what sin does in a person’s life. Jesus also would use yeast to warn His followers about those spreading lies and refusing to believe prophecy about Him. When He told them about the new covenant, He spoke about His crucifixion. His body as the bread and his blood as the wine confused the disciples – at first. He told them about the next step in His rescue mission. He commanded them to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him until He comes again to Earth to eat and drink with them in His kingdom. Imagine what thoughts went through their minds as they heard about this new covenant that came through Jesus’ body and blood.
Prayer Starter: Thank you, Lord, for the new covenant that came through Your death on the cross for me. Through You, I have forgiveness of sins and I know I will spend eternity with You. I can never merit this gift that came at a great price to You. “Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” (Psalm 16:9)
The New Covenant & First Communion
Luke 22:14-20 “And when the hour came, [Jesus] reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”