The Last Supper Mt. 26:17 - 30
December 11, 2016 Speaker: Jim Galli
Passage: Matthew 26:17–26:30
17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 18And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” 19The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.
20Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” 22Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 24“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
26While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
This is a daunting passage of scripture. There is so much here to discover. I fear sometimes there is a feast and we have no appetite for it. A table is set like the one in Downton Abbey with servants bringing great platters of every kind of sumptuous delicacy, and we take a piece of parsley from the side of one platter and cut it into 3 bites and eat one.
My grandfather used to describe the lazy man, laying in a wagon on his way to the graveyard. Another wagon pulls up going the other direction and the driver says, where are you going to. To the grave yard says the first. The man lieing in the wagon is dying of starvation. The man in the second wagon says, no need, I have a wagon full of corn here, take all you need! And the dying man says, Is it shucked? No, comes the answer. And the dying man says, drive on, driver.
We have a feast before us, but it will take both appetite and diligence to get the benefits.
The Judeo Christian religion is a bloody, bloody, business.
From the first animals that God slew to make garments for Adam and Eve after they sinned, to the last lamb slain for sin, on the day of which we will speak this morning, there has been a constant stream of blood flowing.
Hebrews 9:22 says; And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Remission of sin, in the Creator God's economy, only comes at the price of blood. The wages of sin is death. The life of the flesh is in the blood. Sin requires blood. Death. Seperation from God. We can't pay the price.
And God, knowing the answer to redeem sinful man, set up type's to emulate the final blood that would once for all pay for sin.
The old testament is full of pictures. Types. Little dramas that depict a greater truth. Blood animal sacrifice looking forward to the day that the one sacrifice would come and pay to redeem us.
Adam and Eve's first born was a tender of sheep and goats, and brought acceptable sacrifices that pleased God. His brother tried to do it another way, and was rejected by God. Cain slew Abel.
Blood flows continuously throughout the old testament. Abraham takes his only son Isaac and builds an alter of sacrifice to God. God tests him and knowing that God can raise the son of promise from the dead, Abraham is ready to slay Isaac when God stops him and a lamb is provided for the alter. Blood flows.
Moses receives instruction from God. Detailed instructions about sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice, and the blood flows continuously through all the generations of the children of Israel.
On this passover observance, Josephus, the jewish historian tells us that over 250,000 lambs will be slaughtered in the temple. The blood flows out of the temple like a river, down into the Kidron valley, and the stream below becomes crimson red. Blood, blood, blood.
And yet, the writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 10:24 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
A river of blood flows, but sin is not removed. It is only set aside, waiting for the day when the blood of the lamb of God will take away the sins of the world.
This is that day. Jesus will celebrate this passover feast with His disciples, will go over to the garden of Gethsemane, will be handed over, and will be the sacrificial lamb, once for all.
Again the writer of Hebrews says of this Jesus; Hebrews 7:27
Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people; He sacrificed for sin once for all when He offered up Himself.
With that background, let's look at these verses.
17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
The passover feast and the feast of unleavened bread celebrate the same event.
In Exodus 12, Moses has been asking Pharoah to free the children of Israel, and God has hardened Pharoah's heart so that he has not relented through incredible plagues.
The final plague is that in Egypt, every first born son in every household in the land will be struck by the angel of death.
God instructs His chosen people, the children of Israel, to take a lamb with no blemish and they are to take it into their homes and it lives with the family, like a pet.
On a given evening, at a given hour, they are to slaughter the lamb, and they are to take some of the blood from the pot with hyssop, and they are to splatter that blood on the lintel and the doorposts of their houses.
Then they are to eat the flesh of the lamb, roasted by fire, not raw, or boiled, roasted by fire, and whatever is left shall not remain until the following morning, they are to burn it.
If they do this the death angel will pass over that home and spare the first born in the children of Israels houses. They are to celebrate this passover in remembrance throughout their generations.
In Egypt the following morning, a great cry goes up. Get these people out of here before we're ALL dead. That's the Jim interpretation. And Israel flees.
The unleavened bread and the resulting feast is another type. Another picture. God told them, when you flee, take none of the leaven of Egypt with you.
They left in a hurry, and they took their bread dough with them, unleavened. The picture is that you leave Egypt and it's customs and it's culture, and it's leaven, in Egypt. You escape without the leaven of Egypt. The feast of unleavened bread goes on for a week after passover. It had become all one thing.
So when Matthew says' 17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” He's talking about the combined feast of passover and unleavened bread. One combined ceremony.
The disciples need to make preparations before hand, because once the feast begins, it is very circumspect. The animal has to be ready to be slaughtered at a certain hour. The food and the fire and everything else needs to be in place, ready to happen.
And it has to happen in Jerusalem. They've been staying in Bethany, a couple of miles away, but now they need a place in Jerusalem to celebrate this feast. They say; Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover
Now, the close student of the Bible may have some confusion here. Because the disciples are preparing the feast and sacrificing the lamb that will be roasted and eaten in observance of the feast, a full 24 hours before the rulers of Israel will be doing the same thing.
How does that fly? We note in John's gospel that the chief priests after their mock trial, after Jesus has eaten the passover with His disciples and they go to the garden and the arrest has happened in the early hours of the morning, the priests won't go into Pilates praetorium because it is the day of preparation and they don't want to become unclean.
Bizarre. You're murdering the Son of God and you're worried about being ceremonially unclean. Yikes.
But our question is how is this happening a day later for these folks. Jesus celebrates the feast of passover on the prescribed day but He is also the passover lamb a day later. On passover. That's a problem.
Thankfully, Josephus, the jewish historian for the Romans has explained how this can happen. It's weird, but it's technically fascinating. We don't want to be like the guy in the wagon. Drive on driver. Too much bother to do the work in order to be fed.
Stay with me now. Here's what has happened, and once you understand it, if I can explain it, you see that it's actually a miracle of sovereignty that God has set in place so that His Son can both celebrate the passover and fulfill all righteousness, with His disciples, and at the same time BE the passover Lamb of God, dieing on the cross, the very hour the jews were slaughtering thousands of passover lambs.
The lambs must be slaughtered in roughly a 2 hour window from 3:00 - ish to 5:00 - ish in our time. But what has happened is that the Jews who live in Galilee, away from Jerusalem begin their days, hour one, is like 6:00 in the morning.
Time for Jerusalem jews, their days begin, 6:00 at night. So for Galilee jews, 10th Nisan begins at 6:00 AM and by 3:00 that day they want to have their lamb slaughtered in the temple and they go home and roast it.
Meanwhile for Jerusalem jews, 10th Nisan did not begin until 6:00 in the evening, they've missed the 3:00 - 5:00 pm time slot that the galilean jews recognized and theirs will fall at the same time, 24 hours later.
And simple math, having to slaughter 250,000 lambs, the people had no problem, no compulsion to fix that. The temple service priests welcomed spreading the work over 2 days.
But that's why Jesus can celebrate passover with His disciples and 24 hours later say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? on the cross as Jerusalem is slaughtering their passover lambs. The sovereignty of God solved that problem.
So, back to Peter and John, the other gospel writers tell us, who are going to set up the necessary things to celebrate this feast.
Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover...
18And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” 19The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.
Again the other gospel writers give a few more details. The man would be carrying a water pot. Men don't carry water pots. Women do. So that singles this guy out in the city that is chaotic with pilgrims from everywhere.
There's a cryptic element here. Why didn't Jesus just say we're going to do this at Fred's house. Yea, the big 2 story place. Fred, you know him.
Why the secrecy. Go into the city. There will be a guy with a water pot. Follow him to his house and say these words . . .
The reason may very well have been the final sentence from last week. Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Him. If Judas knew where the passover was going to be held, he could have had the soldiers storm that place.
That isn't in the plan of God. There is still much teaching and fellowship and the instituting of a new feast for a new covenant that has to happen. So Judas is left out of this. The plan of God at work.
18And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’”
How often has He said, my time has not yet come. This is time with a capital T. Epic. Time. “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” The hour had come. His epic is now. The Master needs the upper room.
19The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover
The plan of God comes together. Everything is in place.
20Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.”
He had told them He would be handed over to the enemy. That, they could barely imagine. Now He tells them, it is one reclining at table in intimacy.
This is the inner sanctum. These are your most intimate friends. This is the place of safety. Security. Kindrid spirits who love each other and only want good for each other. Comfort. So they thought.
Listen to Psalm 55 describe the emotions of the moment better than I ever could.
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng.
The heart breaks when someone you love, and who you think loves you, does this. We expect this from our enemies. But it's a triple blow when it comes from those we shared spiritual intimacy with. Worshipped with. Or so we thought.
In Jesus case, He knew ahead of time. He knows what is in the hearts of men. Hebrews 4:13 says; Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we have to do.
22Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?”
Even in this disaster, there is something for the disciples to take away later.
On the same night, John tells us Jesus also said this; Jn. 13:18 I am not speaking about all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the Scripture: ‘The one who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it comes to pass, you will believe that I am He.…
The prophecy is from Psalm 41. It states; 9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
He tells them, I'm telling you now, ahead of time, so that when it happens, you will believe that I AM He. Only God can predict the future. Only God can tell the end from the beginning. Even in disaster, especially in disaster, He is building their faith. He knows whom He has chosen.
23And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 24“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
How much better to have never had being, to have never existed, at all, than to rebel against the God who created you for His glory. True for Judas who betrayed Jesus. And true for every other rebellious created being who turns away from a gracious God and refuses to do His will.
Have you noticed with all the parade of evil before us these days, especially in our current society that has to have every word they say on record, on Facebook, on TV, on I-Phone, recorded for all to see, that people can't shut up about their evil.
25And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
Evil people are so proud of their evil. It's what defines them. I watch these shows with Pam, like Chopped Kitchen or something, and every time this guy opens his mouth he has to tell me about his husband. He's so proud of his husband, he can't talk about anything else.
Evil is slimy, slithery, filthy stuff, but evil people need to have it on parade. They can't shut up about their evil. It's who they are.
Judas is the same way. He knows that Jesus knows, obviously. Shut up about it then. But no, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He just can't help himself. Just like all these other evil folks. They can't shut up.
And Jesus, in Matthew 12 says; 36 But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
Now we shift gears. This is the final passover in the old economy of God's chosen people Israel.
The passover is the type, and the anti-type has come. The passover is the picture, and the reality is in their midst.
Sprinkle the blood of a sacrificial animal and God will set aside your sin. Until the real sacrifice comes whose blood can take away your sins once for all time.
Pictures are only important until the real thing is there. In the fall of 1962, my mom ordered a new Ford Fairlane. A 1963 model, not yet built. The dealers didn't have them yet. But we had a brochure, with pictures. And we could look at the pictures until the new car was there. Then when it was, we never looked at the brochure again.
Passover looks forward to a time when a single sacrifice will once for all remove the sins of God's elect people. It is a picture we use until the real has come, then there's no further need for the picture.
That day has come. This is the final passover in the economy of national Israel, because their Messiah has come. His blood will be poured out, once for all for their sins. His body will be broken, and will die and rise again, so that they can have spiritual life.
The old covenant has passed away. A new covenant has come to replace it. The passover is fulfilled. In Jesus. In His broken body. In His shed blood. He will institute a new feast of remembrance. Communion. We still celebrate this feast, unbroken, since the day He instituted it with His disciples on this night.
26While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
This is one of two sacraments our Lord has asked the church to observe. Baptism, water baptism following the biblical example of immersion, is the other. We recognize only these 2 things as sacraments required of all christians.
Remember me. Remember my blood, shed for you. Remember my body, broken for you. Do it often. And the other is a picture of our new life. Baptism is a picture of us being immersed in Him. In His broken body. In His shed blood. We go into the grave and leave our old dead person there. We rise with Him in newness of life.
These are pictures. Types. To remind us of what He has done. To declare to the whole world that we are His.
We call the declaration, baptism. And we call this service He instituted with His disciples on this night, communion. Communion. Why? We get baptism. That's a logical name. Where does the idea of communion come from.
It is this. We'll look at it in reverse.
Isaiah 59: 1,2 says; 1Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. 2But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
All of the things described, that are severed, are communion with the living God. Sin breaks the communion. The very sin we were born into. We're born dead, spiritually. Severed from God because of Adams sin. We were born into that family.
The blood of Jesus removes sin. The body broken for us and raised up again from the dead for us, restores communion with God. Intimate, personal, daily, hourly, moment by moment, communion with the living God. That's something to celebrate.
Right now we have the down payment for the future communion. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit and the promises in this book. But then, then, well, listen to what Jesus says about then.
29“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
A day is coming when we will be the bride of Christ at a great wedding feast, and we will sit at table with Him and drink a glass of wine, with Him, in His Father's kingdom. Our minds can barely fathom the splendor. We will be spotless, dressed in the finest white linen, and all tears will be wiped away. Everything will be more splendid than our poor little brains can ever imagine.
Until then, we keep communion. We remember what Jesus has done. And we sing.
30After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
For now, we treasure the witness of the Holy Spirit, living in us. We honor and obey the authoritative Word of God, given to us. We communicate with our Father in prayer. Continuously. And . . . we sing.