Luke 22:14–23

Read the passage.

The table is set, the preparations are complete, and Jesus is now ready to eat the Passover meal with His disciples. And in the face of over a millenium of tradition, Jesus adds some new elements to the formula. Before that, though, Jesus expresses His gratitude that He gets to eat this Passover with His closest disciples, knowing that it will be the last one He will have with them.

His first break with tradition is that He does not partake in the four cups of wine that are traditionally served at different points during the meal. The wine was diluted with water to keep anyone from becoming drunk at this solemn occasion, but Jesus doesn’t have even that much. Instead His cup gets distributed to everyone else at the table. I’m certain there is significance to Jesus’s abstinence at this time, but I haven’t read anything to indicate what it is. Jesus did drink wine before, especially in comparison to John the Baptist since His enemies accused Him of being a drunkard. I also don’t know if “until the kingdom of God comes” (v. 18) refers to after His resurrection, or after His Second Coming. I suspect knowing why would help answer when.

The next thing Jesus does differently is to equate His body with the Passover bread which is broken into pieces and given to everyone to eat. And He commands them to “[d]o this in remembrance of me.” (v. 19) Likewise, the cup of wine after the meal is equated with Jesus’s blood which is poured out for the new covenant between God and man. This is how He could say in John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” As He commanded us, churches around the world celebrate the Lord’s Supper by eating bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine, remembering Jesus’s sacrifice that makes eternal life with Him possible.

Before the disciples can wonder what Jesus means by all this, He throws them another curveball by telling them that He will be betrayed by someone who was there that night. He also lets it drop that all these things have been determined beforehand, and yet the betrayer is going to be facing divine judgement anyway.

You are the only One who can change our natures, so that we will willingly follow Your instructions.

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