Jack Graham - The Last Supper
I want you to take your Bible and turn with me to the Gospel of Luke. You notice to my left, your right, we have a Lord's Supper table... actually a Passover table, symbolizing the last Passover and the first Supper that our Lord gave us. It is His Supper; it is the Lord's Passover; it is the Lord's Supper.
And verse 14 of Luke 22 tells us what happened: 1 "And when the hour came, 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 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 is a second cup), 'This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.'"
The word covenant actually means to cut a covenant. Maybe you as a child decided to become a blood brother or blood sister with someone, and your mother wanted to know why is your hand cut? "Oh, I'm blood-brothers". And you mix the blood, you mingle the blood. Well that's an old tradition. Even certainly among the Jewish people. And it was a covenant that was cut, and this bloody covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ is now established. Darkness is encroaching upon Jerusalem. Again, this is Thursday evening. The darkness is encroaching. A conspiracy has been concocted; hatched out of hell. Satan propelling evil men to do an evil thing; the most evil thing! And Jesus, still in a festive mood, celebrating the Passover, presents Himself as the Lamb of God. Because you see the Passover is a powerful picture of the Gospel and how we are transformed by the power of the love of God! The Passover, you know, is an Old Testament feast which becomes this clear and vivid picture that is provided by Jesus who is our Passover.
1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that Christ is our Passover. "For Christ, our Passover the Lamb, has been sacrificed". And so what we all need to hear and remember today is that Jesus is our Passover Lamb who gave His body, and gave His blood for us. Now, I want you to get back in time with me just a little bit and turn your Bibles back to the first Passover in Exodus chapter 12. Let me remind you that Israel is in bondage. For hundreds of years the Israelites are slaving in Egypt and Egypt is a picture of the world and the power of sin and the bondage of sin. And Satan himself represented by Pharaoh. But God called Moses His delivers. Moses, full of the power of God, the fire of God that was in that bush is now in this man! And he goes and stands before Pharaoh in the name of the great I AM, the great name of our God, and he commands and demands, "Let my people go," says the Lord God. Pharaoh refused.
And so God sent a series of judgments upon the land of Egypt. Ten judgments, each one of these judgments, whether it was some flies or locusts or the Nile turned to blood, or the sun darkened. Whatever the specific day or the specific plague came a direct assault, a direct hit on one of the false gods of Egypt. It was shock and awe! But Pharaoh, who was given opportunity to repent and to relent, hardened his heart. And so after nine judgments, came a tenth and more dreadful and deadly judgment. It was the judgment, the death of the firstborn of all of the house of Egypt. All of the households of Egypt, the death of the firstborn.
Imagine the death of your firstborn son. But in the midst of this darkness and this death, there is a promise! There is good news! Good news of salvation! And that good news comes with a lamb. For verse 5 of Exodus chapter 12 says: "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old and you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight". At the end of the day. "And then they shall take", verse 7, "some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses and then eat it". That is, eat the lamb, all of it. The blood on the doorpost... and even in this you can see the sign of the cross. The blood of the Lamb! From the beginning God has been teaching this truth: "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin". That's Hebrews 9:22.
And so with the sacrifices even demonstrated in the book of Genesis early on at the dawn of history, and redemption of Mankind, now comes the blood of the lamb. And the blood will begin to flow through Israel and the pages of Scripture! The Bible is a bloody book. Cut it anywhere and it will bleed! Because God is teaching this incredible lesson, that no one is saved apart of the blood of the Lamb! Without the shedding of blood, the blood of the lamb, there is no redemption; no forgiveness! That lamb, according to verse 5 as we noted and read a moment ago, the lamb of the blood that was to be put on the doorpost, and God said, Exodus 12:13 "When I see the blood, I will Passover"! Don't pass over the Passover, believers! "When I see the blood of the Passover, I will bring salvation to your heart and to your home". A lamb without blemish.
This lamb was selected and scrutinized and tested. A father would take a lamb and look at it's eyelids, and look in its mouth, and for any flaw... and then choose a lamb that was as near perfect as possible. Tested and examined. This is a prophecy of Jesus, the Lamb chosen by God. Verse 11 of Exodus 12 tells that this is "the Lord's Passover"; this is the Lord's doing! It's all of grace! When Christ walked among us He was examined, He was scrutinized, He was tested by men, but He was chosen by God! Pure and holy and flawless! Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:19 that we are saved by "the precious blood of Jesus like that of a lamb without blemish or spot". Both His friends and His enemies confessed ultimately that there was no fault in Jesus.
Pilate said, Luke 23:4 "I find no fault in Him". Even Judas who betrayed Him would say Matthew 27:4 "I have betrayed innocent blood". His friend who walked with Him, who now reclined with Him at this table... the men who were closest to Him recognized His deity and His humanity. God the Father Himself said, (Matthew 3:17), "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". Jesus is the pure and perfect, the flawless Lamb of God. And yet He became the chosen Lamb to die on the cross for our sins. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that "He that who knew no sin was made sin... He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God".
First John 3:5... John, who knew Him well, who leaned on His chest, who heard the heartbeat of God for the world, he said, "You know how He appeared to take away sins, and in Him there was no sin". The Lamb is chosen, and His name is Jesus. The lamb is not only chosen, but in the Passover the lamb is condemned. The lamb was actually taken into the household four days before the lamb was to be offered as a sacrifice. It became almost a part of the family, kind of a little family pet, if you will. But this lamb did not come to live in the household, but to die for the household. The lamb was condemned to die. His blood was spilled. Now back to the Last Passover, the first Supper.
Back to Luke 22 and verse 19. Jesus the Lamb of God, the Passover of God, broke the bread. He would have broken the bread in three pieces according to Jewish tradition... in three pieces. And the middle piece was the piece that was designated for the Messiah. So you had three pieces of the bread that is broken at Passover, alluding to the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And Jesus offered, therefore, this bread as a symbol of His body which is broken for you, broken for me. Now we know that the bones of Jesus, as prophecy tells us and as history declares it, the bones of Jesus were not broken... not a bone was broken. But His body was bruised and battered and bludgeoned and wounded, lacerated, cut, to the degree that He was unrecognizable at death. He said, "My body is broken for you".
And then in verse 20, taking the cup red with the fruit of the vine... There were four cups on the table. Two Jesus gives us here; one to give thanks; it is a Eucharist... Did you know the word Eucharist means to give thanks. It comes from this passage. He gave thanks. And it is almost as though this cup... the first cup that Jesus lifted in giving thanks, was a look back... a tip of the cup, if you will to the past, to the Passover. And then this second cup, the Messiah's cup was a look to the future and the promise of eternal life. the Jews would keep a designated... Today, to this day, I'm told, a designated seat is given among the orthodox to the Messiah; it's the Messiah's chair, an empty chair, a plate and a cup. Jesus took that seat, and Jesus took that cup; the cup was the Messiah's cup.
Now Jesus the Messiah lifts that cup because it represents His blood. Both the body and the blood of the Lord represent in very simple terms life. The Bible tells us that there is life in the blood. There was a time in history that doctors thought if you had disease or infection, the way to heal you was to bleed you out. George Washington died because of blood-letting. And they didn't understand the principle that William Harvey had discovered that the circulatory system, the blood flows through the body and is essential to life! Life is in the blood! Life is also in that bread, because Jesus said, "I am the Bread of life; I am the Bread of heaven".
Now, please, don't give me any of those diets that cut out the bread! I'm all out on that! There is life in bread! Bread represents life; blood represents life! The cup... Jesus would take that cup to Gethsemane where He prayed, pouring out His blood and drinking the bitter dregs as He prayed, "Father, if there's any way let this cup pass from Me". We will take a long look at our Lord at Gethsemane next week. But He took that cup and He drank it dry. He was tried, He was condemned, He was crucified! And by 3:00 o'clock on Friday afternoon, He cried out, "Tetelestai - It is finished"! And at that moment the Passover Lamb was slain across the households of Israel, but for the last time; in that Christ, our Passover, has fulfilled the Law; the Lamb has fulfilled His purpose! All the priests could now go home! Shut it down! The sacrificial system is completed! "It is finished"! No more sacrifices, no more blood is necessary because the dear Lamb of God has cut this new covenant with us. And because Jesus has fully and finally fulfilled this mission, God's perfect plan is now complete!
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that last Palm Sunday, or that first Palm Sunday, that Palm Sunday before Easter, He rode through on a donkey through the Eastern gates. The Eastern gate is now closed in anticipation that the Messiah will one day walk through that gate. He already has! He went through the Eastern gate, and as Jesus went through the Eastern gate we're told that shepherds would have been bringing their flocks from Bethlehem where sheep were raised primarily for the sacrifices in Jerusalem, that those sheep would have been herded through the Sheep gate at the very moment Jesus was coming into Jerusalem! All in the plan and the providence of God! Jesus would die on a cross at Mount Moriah! The very place where Abraham offered his son Isaac and God stayed his hand because He had the heart of Abraham fully and completely. God stayed His hand and Abraham said, "God Himself will provide for Himself a Lamb". And at that very site of God's promise, the Lamb of God poured out His life for us.
Jesus died as our substitute. It's vivid here. When Jesus said, "Take the cup, that this is My blood for you, for you"! Not just for our benefit, but in our behalf; for you. Personalize this... for me, for you. You know what the word Passover means? It means in the Hebrew language "the beginning of months". Passover... Christ our Passover means that we can have a new beginning. It's never too late for a new beginning in your life. Because Christ Jesus was our sacrifice and He was our substitute. He died in our place for you. "That God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" - Romans 5:8.
You can begin again. Every firstborn in Egypt was under the judgment, but now the firstborn of creation-Man can be born again by His blood, by His body! This is the reason we remember; never will we forget! And even in eternity the Lamb is celebrated. Jesus spoke of this celebration when He passed the Supper to His disciples. He said, "You'll not eat this with me until we eat it in the kingdom of God", and this, no doubt, is a reference to the kingdom that is to come, where the Lamb is celebrated! We celebrate and commemorate the Lamb according to the Scripture until He comes! And this last Passover, now remembered as the first Supper... the Lord's Supper for generations is celebrated and commemorated by the Lord's blood-bought church purchased by the blood! And we share His life together! The Lord's Supper is a celebration and it is a communion. John would later unveil and reveal to us both the Lion and the Lamb.
You see Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but you see Him as the Lamb of God! And if you'll look in your Bible to Revelation 4, and this will wrap it up today, but Revelation chapter 4. This is an incredible scene in heaven; a glimpse of the Gloria of which we sang a moment ago. The question is asked regarding a scroll, a mysterious scroll in heaven and it is sealed. And the question is raised in heaven: Who will open this seal, this title deed to the earth? It really was the question: Who will rule? Who will reign? Many have tried; many have attempted to rule the earth, but who has the right to rule?
And so in chapter 4, verses 5 and 6: "From the throne came flashes of lightning, and thunders and rumblings and peals of thunder, before the throne which are before the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal". And then this scroll, verse 1 of chapter 5, "In the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written and on the back, sealed with seven seals". Verse 5 says, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals". And then they looked expecting a Lion! But guess who showed up? A Lamb! "Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb (That is our Lord!) standing, as though it had been slain"!
Slain and scarred by the work of His mission! Those scars that remain throughout all eternity! A Lamb standing! A Lamb sovereign! A Lamb slain! And this Lamb is then worshiped because He takes that scroll... He and He alone! He is altogether worthy! He is always worthy! He alone is worthy to take this scroll! To command creation! Why? The Lamb prevails, the Lamb is King, the Lamb conquers! He is now raised! He is now reigning! And the majestic choirs of heaven, you know what they sing? "Gloria! Worthy, worthy is the Lamb"! And the peals of that praise will echo throughout all eternity! Worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb! It will be the longest praise chorus in eternity! Same song again and again and again! The name of our Great God! The Lamb who is slain, "Blessing and glory and honor and might and power"! His great name!