When the hour had come, He reclined at the 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 say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and 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 in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.
Luke 22.14- 23 NASB
As I reflect on the passage above, I take note of a few things that are going on. For starters, Jesus is celebrating the Passover with his disciples. In the Old Testament, the Passover was something that the Israelites were supposed to partake in to commemorate God bringing them out of the land of the Egyptians and more specifically delivering them from slavery (Exodus 12.1-13). This was a celebration of sorts that was especially for the Israelites in that God had only done this for them, even though others were invited to participate in the subsequent festival, the feast of weeks or Pentecost (Deuteronomy 16.1-12).
What I also take note of in this passage is that Jesus is instituting a new covenant of sorts. He connects the Passover lamb to himself, saying that his body has been broken and his blood has been spilled on behalf of them. I am sure that at this point the disciples really did not understand his words but within the next 24 hours or so they will understand as Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies on behalf of the sins of the whole world.
The difference between the Passover lamb of the Old Testament and that of the New is the intended audience or receivers. In the Old Testament, the Passover lamb’s intended audience was the Israelites and in the New Testament it is the whole world. Jesus did not just die for a select few but he died for all, bringing all persons to the communion table of the Lord so that all could partake, so that all could benefit, so that all could be saved!
Yet, not all come! This bothers me. It bothers me because as I see it Jesus has made it possible for all to draw near so that when the angel of death came, or the second death, they would not be consumed. Looking at another communion text in I Corinthians 11, I see that people were often prevented from coming to the table because of divisions that existed among the Corinthian Church. Although the situation in Corinth is unique to them, I believe that we could contextualize this to churches over the world and see that people, the lost, are prevented from coming to Christ because of things that are going on in the lives of those who claim to have partaken of this blessing.
Understanding this reality, I remind myself that my salvation is not unto myself. Jesus did not die just to bring me and mine into a relationship with God but he compels me to invite others into that relationship as well! I must constantly check my actions, my attitudes, my thoughts to make sure that they are ones that invite others to the same table from which I have received instead of ones that cause them to refuse it. I remember this during this Lenten season, drawing on the significance of the Last Supper and its implications on how I should subsequently live my life.