The memorial was received by the disciples as an event of such importance as the death of our Lord was intended to be, involving first the church—the firstborn and afterwards to the world of mankind.
The adversary always had in mind to bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, and had prior to the close of our Lord’s ministry, endeavoured to destroy Him and had failed to do so. But at the appointed time‑when “his hour had come” (John 13:1 RSV) Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem in order to keep the Passover—and taking his disciples aside he told them, that the ‘Son of man’ was to be betrayed to the chief Priests, and would be condemned to death—and even delivered up to the Gentiles, to be mocked and scourged and then would crucify Him. (Matt.20.17‑19)
A few days later for the preparation for the Passover Jesus told Peter and John to go and prepare and make ready a guest chamber in the upper room. There with the 12 He partook of it in obedience to the word of Jehovah (Ex.12:14) made first some 1,500 years before, to all the whole assembly of Israel. “This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever”.
That evening after partaking, Jesus found time to set the wonderful example of service; by washing the feet of the disciples. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) So simple yet never to be forgotten.
Not all the 12 were clean—there was one that had “lifted up his heel” against Jesus, who would betray the Master and then would withdraw himself from the other disciples.
As the typical Passover was indelibly imprinted on the minds of the disciples, even more so would the details of that last Passover day—some 2,000 years have come and gone. So too now, many have come to appreciate all those happenings and their detailed significance—especially the distinction between Our Passover from the other which was imposed upon the Jews after their exile from Egypt. “This do in remembrance of me.” These words of Jesus are very personal to each one. We see in this a commandment to the church of the firstborn an occasion to unite hearts and minds with brethren everywhere of like precious faith.
As we think of our Lord that evening in the upper room; an evening very special and different from previous occasions, unique for as Jesus intimated IT WOULD BE. “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
Formerly all Jews celebrated the Passover, the lamb slain in Egypt, that marked not only the deliverance of the nation, and especially the firstborn; but it also marked the beginning of ‘life’ as a singular people, chosen of God and herein lies the lesson in the reality! Now let’s consider how much the Lord Jesus; the SON OF MAN gave up to come to earth to be born of a woman.
Centuries before it was written of him “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old” (Prov.8:22) “Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him”. (Prov.8:30) He was a witness to the Divine Wisdom even from the beginning of Creation—but He laid aside this relationship and life with the Father in these ages past, at the Father’s request.
And as the Apostle Paul says He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil.2:7‑8)
He endured much and yet refused to revile his persecutors—the very ones he came to save; in order to do the Father’s work that great work of cleansing the blemished creation from Sin.
For Israel deliverance for them as a nation involved the deliverance of all firstborn and unless under the blood there was no hope for them—so too the TRUE Israel of Jehovah now must remain under the blood if they would continue to live.
Our Lord’s death as a ransom has provided redemption from the curse which our first parents brought upon mankind and His faithfulness and obedience under trial is an example of devotion to all who would follow after Him. Just as the Apostle Paul who having been apprehended of Christ Jesus declared of his Lord. “That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil.3:10) In the apostle’s resolve he says “This one thing I do”…“I press toward the mark” like his Lord whatever the cost.
Now the Lord’s supper is a testimony and recognition that salvation is through the all atoning blood of the Saviour, the only begotten.
How closely connected are the bread and the wine, and its meaning, of flesh and blood. The flesh has need of blood, the REAL importance of blood is that the life is in the blood. (Heb.9:18,24.25; Lev.17:11,14). In the typical arrangements nothing was dedicated or inaugurated without blood. And if those patterns were cleansed with the blood of animals—how much greater was the need for Better Blood for entrance into heaven in the Presence of God for redemption (Heb.9).
Jesus said the cup, the fruit of the vine represents blood, which is LIFE, life that is given and yielded up, and sacrificed, and that the cup represents His life poured out for the remission of sins. So that all who would follow Him—who would be His disciple must of necessity drink of it.
Those who do accept His sacrifice must appropriate; must take hold of, by faith the blessings it was designed to give. As with the typical Levitical arrangement those things sprinkled with blood were cleansed, so the child of God, the one who is called of Him, is purified and cleansed by the blood of Christ.
The Apostle Paul gives us to understand our position of grace wherein we stand. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ... having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (sons) by Jesus Christ”, through which “He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”! (Eph.1:3‑7) It is all of grace.
In the two emblems of ‘bread and wine’ together—the precious body and blood of our dear Lord, convey the thought of release from condemnation, and also complete provision for our day to day cleansing. So then for the Christian the future life, our eternal life is assured by the great and precious promises and truths, providing our walk, our lives are governed by them.
In the evening of memorial one must never lose their appreciation of these wonderful details. Therefore the Lord’s supper is an act of obedience and an act of Remembrance, one testifies to his death, and that Salvation is through His precious blood, and in this is our fellowship “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor.10:16‑17).
Lastly one comes to the Lord’s supper because in Silence but with Power the Christian proclaims in full assurance of faith as the apostle Paul says in 1 Cor.11:26 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” Many have done so without fail year after year with the words of Jesus as fresh and alive, as they were when they first heard them.