76. The Last Supper (1 of 5)
The Last Supper (1 of 5)….THE same night in which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks, and blessed it, and brake it, and gaveit to his disciples, and said,
Take, eat; this is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
As they sat and did eat, Jesus said,
Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
¶But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit; and testified,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you which eateth with me shall betray me.
The disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. They were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Jesus, one by one, Lord, is it I? and another, Is it I? He answered,
It is one of the twelve: he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom Jesus spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered,
He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.
He dipped the sop: he gave it to Judas Iscariot: then said unto him,
That thou doest, do quickly.
Judas said, Master, is it I? Jesus said unto him,
Thou hast said.
Judas went immediately out: and it was night. When he was gone, Jesus said,
Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, so now I say to you, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
¶Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered,
Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now: but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
Peter said, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered,
Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
¶There was a strife among the disciples, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And Jesus said unto them,
The kings of the Gentile exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And Iappoint unto you a kingdom, as my father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
¶And the Lord said,
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
And Simon said, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And Jesus said,
I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
And he said unto them,
When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?
They said, Nothing. Then said Jesus,
But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors.
For the things concerning me have an end.
And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he answered,
It is enough.
When he had supped, Jesus after the same manner took the cup, and when he had given thanks, gave it to them, saying,
Drink ye all of it.
And they all drank of it. And he said unto them,
This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you; for this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Verily I say unto you, I will drink henceforth no more of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God, my Father’s kingdom.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-25
Meditation 1 of 2:
Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus or hatred because of disillusionment? It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was. Aren’t we tempted to use God for our own purposes? It is not God who must change, but we must be changed by him. Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him.
As Jesus ate the passover meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be highminded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil?
Every male Jew, who was of age and lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem, was bound to celebrate Passover every year in Jerusalem. This annual feast commemorated the deliverance of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12). On that night the angel of death slew the first-born of the Egyptians; but he “passed over” the homes of the Israelites, because the lintel of their doors was smeared with the blood of an unblemished lamb sacrificed for the occasion. It was at Passover time that Jesus came to Jerusalem knowing he would be betrayed and put to death as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled the Passover. His death and resurrection, which occured at Passover time, redeems us from enslavement to sin, death, Satan, and the world. His blood, like the blood of the first Passover lamb, protects God’s people from the angel of death and breaks the oppressive rule of Satan. Easter is the Christian Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8). Do you celebrate the Passover with sincerity and truth (see 1 Cor. 5:7-8)?
“God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for Jesus Christ’s sake.” (Prayer of Thomas a Kempis)
Gospel reading: Matthew 26:26-30
Meditation 2 of 2:
Matthew ties the last supper meal with Jesus’ death and the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus transforms the passover of the old covenant into the meal of the “new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to their Creator. Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine, who was both priest and king (Genesis 14:18), prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king. The unleavened bread at Passover and the miraculous manna in the desert are the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises. The “cup of blessing” at the end of the Jewish passover meal points to the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Jesus gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup when he instituted the “Lord’s Supper” or “Eucharist”. He speaks of the presence of his body and blood in this new meal. When at the Last Supper Jesus described his blood “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28), he was explaining his coming crucifixion as a sacrifice for sins. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. That is why John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the worl” Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He “offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14) and “gave himself as a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). This meal was a memorial of his death and resurrection.
Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood (John 6:51-58). Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the church in the glory of God’s kingdom. This is the most significant meal of Jesus and the most important occasion of his breaking of bread. In this meal Jesus identifies the bread as his body and the cup as his blood. When the Lord Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the very center of our being (John 6:53). That life which he offers is the very life of God himself.
Jesus’ death on the cross, his gift of his body and blood in the Supper, and his promise to dine again with his disciples when the kingdom of God comes in all its fulness are inseparably linked. Jesus instructed his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me”. These words establish every Lord’s Supper or Eucharist as a “remembrance” of Jesus’ atoning death, his resurrection, and his promise to return again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipates the final day when the Lord Jesus will feast anew with his disciples in the heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb and his Bride. Do you know the joy of the drinking Christ’s cup and tasting the bread of his Table in sincerity?
“Lord Jesus, you are the “Bread of Life” and the “Cup of Salvation”. May I always follow in the narrow way of the cross toward the heavenly banquet where you will seat all the elect at the table of your kingdom.”