The Lord’s Table
Matthew Lesson #168
July 9, 2017
“Father, we’re thankful we can take this time to reflect upon Your Word, that you have revealed this to us. You have preserved it through the centuries. We are blessed beyond many believers in the Church Age, for we have our own copy of Your Word. We have our own translation that is pretty accurate, and we can understand what You have written to us.
“Father, as we take the time to think about, to talk about, to learn from, what is revealed about the Lord’s Table today, we pray that You would open the eyes of our soul that we may take in Your Word and that God the Holy Spirit would instruct us, and that we would submit ourselves to what Your Word has to say in terms of each of our spiritual lives.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Matthew 26—the main chapter in Matthew—and the course of events in the last week of our Lord’s life on earth, where He institutes the Lord’s Table. Our central passage this morning is Matthew 26:17–30.
We have already seen in this chapter in Matthew is that Jesus begins at the end of the day where He has had a very, very long day. It is part of the same day where He has spoken to His disciples about end time events in what we refer to as the Olivet Discourse. That concluded at the end of Matthew 25.
Matthew 26:1, “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings that He said to His disciples ...” and there He announces that He will be crucified in two days.
Then we’re told in Matthew 26:3–5 that the religious leaders, the chief priests, the elders of the people, had conspired together. They met at the palace of the high priests, Caiaphas, and were plotting to take Jesus’ life—but they’re afraid of the people.
They don’t want to do it during this festival time. This is Passover. This is one of the most significant days in the whole Jewish calendar. In Christianity, sometimes we talk about Christmas and Easter Christians. Well, in Judaism they talk about Passover and Yom Kippur Jews—you know, they just show up those two days out of the whole year.
This is one of those two significant days and feasts because Passover will come and then what begins the day after the feast of unleavened bread. So the religious leaders are fearful of starting something during this time because they don’t want to create a riot among the people. They know how popular Jesus is.
We’re told in Matthew 26:6–13 about the dinner that Jesus had that night, and I believe—as I covered a couple of weeks ago when I talked about not being stingy with God—that this is an event that occurs that night. I’m not going to go into all the details, but it doesn’t make sense if it occurred earlier because it’s intimately connected with what Judas does, and it is the occasion for Judas going to the religious leaders to bargain, to make a deal, to betray Jesus.
The way this is structured in Matthew 26:5 they’re saying, “Oh, we don’t want to do it during the feast.” Well, we all know that’s exactly when they did it. What enabled them to move up the timetable was that they had an inside guy who would betray Jesus, so they could arrest Him without it being in public. It would be a quiet thing.
This just doesn’t make sense if this introduction of the anointing happens earlier, like on Saturday night before the entry. So there is this episode where the unnamed woman anoints Jesus’ head with expensive perfume.
In Matthew 26:14–16, one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, goes to the chief priests, and bargains for a price of 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave’s life if he was killed, and that sets up the opportunity.
We’re also told a couple things about Judas and this event over in Luke. At this point, when Judas goes to bargain, he is entered into by Satan. We’re told that there are actually two times that Satan possesses Judas.
This first time is when he goes to bargain with the religious leaders, and Luke 22:3–4 expands on what Matthew says, “Then”—and that then is immediately after his leaving to go bargain with the religious leaders—“Then Satan entered Judas surnamed Iscariot, who’s numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.”
This is clearly a distinct event from the event described in John 13:27, which takes place in the middle—we will see this a little later on—in the middle of the Seder meal. Jesus is going to hand a sandwich—it is called the Hillel sandwich, it’s an odd little sandwich, we will talk about that—and He hands that to Judas.
It’s the third time He talks about being betrayed and it’s the second time He identifies His betrayer as the person who dips with Him or eats with Him in John 13:27, “… after the piece of bread, Satan entered him.” That’s a second entry.
In both places it uses this word EISERCHOMAI. ERCHOMAI is the basic word “to go into” or “to come into.” When you add the prefix EX, which means “to come out of,” it means to leave or to exit. If it has the prefix EIS that means to go into. So it is the same word that is used in passages like Luke 8:32–33, for example, of a demon entering into somebody.
it’s a clear statement of satanic indwelling taking over the body of Judas, which clearly shows that Judas was not a believer. We’ve studied the doctrine of demon possession many times, that the demon does not possess a believer. He does not indwell a believer. This is the background.
Then the scene shifts to two days later, the Passover now, starting in verse 17, and this is the preparation for the Seder meal. It’s covered in Matthew 26:17–19; Mark 14:12–16; and Luke 22:7–13.
What I’m trying to do as we go through this, especially these last couple of days Jesus going up to the Cross and after that, is to put together for us what is going on in all of the Gospels. I’m not going to get into all of John 13. Jesus also teaches the disciples in what is called the Upper Room Discourse in John 14, 15, 16; and then His high priestly prayer in John 17. I’m not going to cover all that. I’ll just summarize a few things briefly, so we can see how all of the Gospels fit together.
In Matthew 26:17, “Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus saying to Him, ‘Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?’”
This is the Second Temple period. The First Temple period was the temple Solomon built up till it was destroyed in 586 BC. At that time Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple was destroyed, the Jews were basically removed from the land. Not totally, but mostly and taken into captivity in Babylon. They returned in approximately 538 BC and rebuilt the temple, and it was dedicated in 516 BC.
That’s the beginning of the Second Temple period. It was the temple of Zerubbabel. Then Herod the Great came along to expand it and to completely remodel and rebuild it, but the sacrifices never stopped. So it’s still the Second Temple, it’s the Herodian Temple and it’s still the Second Temple period.
During this period, there’d been a conflation of the two days that began this feast. According to Exodus 12:6 Passover began on the 14th of Nisan, and then on the 15th of Nisan, the next day, is the beginning of the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. So by this time they just referred to the whole thing as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover is the first day, but they’re calling it the First Day of Unleavened Bread by this particular time.
Jesus is talking about the Passover. The word here is PASCHA which is the word that is always translated Passover. It can refer to the Passover itself, the day itself, or it can refer to the Passover lamb which is the sacrifice of the Lamb.
There are different terms that are used in the Old Testament. PASCHA is a transliteration of Pesach. Instead of P-e-s-c-h or p-s-ka, PASCHA, it reverses it to Pesach. From Pesach to PASCHA as it goes from Hebrew to Greek. That’s in Exodus 34:25. Pesach is used by Moses of the sacrificial lamb in Exodus 12:21.
It’s also referred to as hag. That is a term for a festival. For example, if you’re talking to somebody Jewish and you want to wish them a joyous feast day, you say, “Hag Semeach!” Semeach is a word for joy; Hag is the word for feast. That’s the greeting, whether it’s Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah or Pesach, Hag Semeach is a good greeting.
Not so much for Yom Kippur. That’s a real sad day, so you don’t wish them a joyful one, that’s their day of mourning and repenting.
As you look at the Passover meal, there are two things that are necessary for preparation, and that really helps us to understand as background for what we see in the observance of the Lord’s Table.
There two things that speak of cleansing. One is the removal of all chametz from the house. Chametz is leaven. Leaven is anything that is going to turn into or begin to ferment. It would involve various different kinds of flour and wheat and leaven is that which causes it to ferment.
Then there’s the washing of the hands, called urechatz, and so that tells us that before you can observe the worship in the Passover, there has to be a cleansing from sin. Leaven always represents sin.
Prior to the Feast of Unleavened Bread everybody in the house goes through the house and finds all the leaven that’s there. Typically what they will do to symbolize it at the end is they’ll pour some on the counter or on the table, and then they’ll use a feather because they don’t want to get anything corrupted by touching the leaven.
They use a feather and a wooden spoon because it won’t infiltrate the spoon, they scoop it up into the spoon, and they will take it out and make a little ceremony of throwing it away or burning it, and that symbolizes the fact that the house is now cleansed.
What we in the Church Age do for cleansing is we confess sin. The failure to confess sin on the part of the Corinthian believers was they were coming to the Lord’s Table and they were abusing it. That’s why Paul said that many of them suffered—they slept, which was a euphemism for death—or they were sick and they were weak spiritually because they were not coming to the Lord’s Table in fellowship.
They weren’t confessing sin, so Paul says we are to examine ourselves. That’s part of what is necessary in confession, so we can identify sin and admit it to God. So the cleansing represents for us confession.
Overall, Christ is our Passover. 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “Therefore purge out the old leaven”—just borrows from that whole imagery—“purge out the old leaven, that you may be a lump, since you truly are unleavened.” As believers we are positionally cleansed; we are truly unleavened. “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
When we look at the Scripture, Passover refers to the Passover Lamb. It refers to the day itself and it refers also to Jesus.
There are a couple of key elements that are part of the Passover meal.
- The sacrifice of the lamb, Exodus 12:1–7
In the original Passover they would sacrifice the lamb. They chose the lamb on the 10th of Nisan, and they evaluated it for four days to make sure it was without spot or blemish. Then they would sacrifice the lamb, and they would take the blood from the lamb. At the Exodus event they went to the door and they spread it on the door posts. So on each side of the door and at the lintel on top—if you connect the dots, you get a cross. Then the lamb was roasted on a crossed spit. So there’s a lot of symbolism there that foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ.
The second key element:
- The eating of the meal, the seder, Exodus 12:8
Eating is always a picture of fellowship. It’s a picture of reconciliation, it’s a picture of community. All of these come together in eating. So this is a picture of our fellowship with God based upon that sacrifice.
The Old Testament origin of the Passover goes back to the 10th plague, when God was going to take the life of the firstborn in every family.
- The Passover event itself—that whole event—speaks of the redemption of Israel from slavery to sin.
When it’s transferred over for us at the Lord’s Table, it is a picture of God’s redemption for us of slavery to sin.
- The focus is on God’s grace.
What happens next in the preparation as Jesus has said in Matthew 26:17, the disciples have asked, “Where do You want us to prepare to go eat the Passover?”
Jesus says in Matthew 26:18, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says4, “My time is at hand.” ’ ” Jesus knew this was the time that He was to die. He was crucified, the Scripture says, from the foundation of the earth. He knows what the timetable is and this is the time.
So He sends them into a city. It’s a lot like before the entry into Jerusalem just four days earlier where He sent the disciples in to just ask somebody if they could take a colt so Jesus could ride into the city. But in Matthew he just says go into the city. He doesn’t tell us who of the twelve is going.
Luke expands on it. In Luke 22:8 –9 we read, “He sent Peter and John”—so He only sends the two, Peter and John, or His primary go-to guys among the disciples—“and go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”
He is preparing them and He gives them specific instruction in terms of finding the place to meet.
He says to them in Luke 22:10–12, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him into the house, which he enters. Then you shall say to the master the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where’s the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” Then he will show you a large furnished upper room; there make ready.’ ”
There are a couple of things we ought to note about this. First of all, in Middle Eastern culture— today as well as then—the primary person who’s going to be carrying water into the house is going to be the woman of the house.
You’re not going to see the man carrying the water bottles and the water jugs back from the 711 to get to the house. It’s going to be unusual. They’re going to be able to walk in and as soon as they see a man carrying the water, they know that’s him. That would be a very unusual thing to see.
Second thing we ought to note here is their question is, “Where’s the guest room?” It’s the furnished upper room in Luke 22:12.
The word translated “the upper room” here is the word KATALUMA in the Greek. That’s the same word that’s used for “there’s no room at the ‘inn’ ” in Luke 2 when Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem. For years we have conjured up this image of either a place where the caravans would camp out or a nice little Motel 6 that didn’t have the light on anymore.
Everybody has their own image of this inn—some kind of medieval inn—but the word there isn’t the word for “inn” that’s used in the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s this word KATALUMA.
Every house had an upper room. People would go up on the roof.
Some part of it may have been open, so it was cooler in the summer, but this is where your guests would stay at the time of Mary and Joseph. They had other family that was already there, so Mary and Joseph went down and stayed in the area that was reserved for bringing in the favored farm animals.
They want to go to the upper room. This is where a large family gathering at the times of the Jewish festivals would occur. At Passover you don’t sit at a table, you recline, so they would have had a low table set there and then cushions around it. And it was prepared for them.
They would’ve had to have done some of the things in the process. They would’ve had to go to the Temple. They would’ve had to get the Lamb that they were going to roast. Going to the Temple would involve going to the various mikva’ot.
Mikvah is a ritual bath and there’s dozens of these on the southern steps going into the Temple. They would’ve washed: they would’ve immersed, they would have been cleansed. So we get this picture again and again of the necessity of cleansing before worship.
They would’ve gone to get the lamb at that time because there were so many Jews in Jerusalem, many of them camped out on the hills around Jerusalem, that the Levites had one of the original assembly line production teams. They had three long lines, and there would be some who are designated for slitting the lambs’ throat.
Others were going to skin him; others we’re going to disembowel him. They would just do this very rapidly—about every 15 seconds there was another lamb that was ready prepared to take home and to roast. As they sacrificed, the priests would sing from the Hallel Psalms: Psalms 113–118.
They would then take it home. Tradition tells us—there’s nothing biblical that tells us—that this was the home of John Mark’s parents. If you go to Jerusalem today, you will be shown one of two possible sites. On a scale of 1 to 5; one is: it’s pure legend; five is: it’s pretty accurate—like the Temple Mount and Golgotha and the Mount of Olives. This is about a 1+, so nobody knows where the upper room was actually located. What’s there is just pure tradition.
The disciples did as Jesus directed them and they prepared the Passover.
Now the Passover, as I stated earlier, has its origin in the Exodus event in coming out of Egypt. God, one more time—10th time—asked Pharaoh to let His people go. That’s grace again and again and again: God giving him that opportunity. This time the threat was—if you didn’t, then the oldest, the firstborn, in every family, of all your herds would die.
The solution was going to be applying the blood of the lamb to the doorpost:
- The blood of a perfect lamb who was without spot or blemish.
- God gave the specific instructions on the lamb to Moses.
See God always has one way. The world says they hate this exclusiveness of Christianity that there’s only one way, but God’s always had one way. There’s only one way at the ark to get onto Noah’s Ark. There’s only one way to observe Passover.
There’s only one entry into the tabernacle. There’s only one entry into the Temple. There’s only one way and that’s God’s way. He’s the One who defines it. So the way to avoid losing your firstborn is through
- the perfect lamb who was to be sacrificed and
- his blood applied to the doorpost.
- At that time the only thing they had additional was unleavened bread.
The reason given for it at that time is because you’re in a hurry because God’s going to release you and you need to have your bags packed ready to go.
- You are going to eat the meal standing up
But from that point on they would eat it reclining and relaxed because they were looking back to that event. So they we’re ready to go.
- Not one Israelite died.
According to the Talmud, according to legend not one dog barked. It was a quiet night as God passed over the Israelites and no life was lost. That’s the Old Testament origin.
- They were to repeat this feast year after year as a memorial forever.
- This is the focal point of Passover.
- It is fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ.
As John the Baptist announced, He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
In Matthew 26:20 we have the beginning of their Passover observance. This is a Seder meal.
We’re told, “When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve.” According to Passover tradition the lamb was to be sacrificed and eaten between the two dusks, the sunset. So as the sun sets and it’s dusk, they would begin to eat. “… He sat down with the twelve.”
The original Passover had a roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. But by the time you get to the Second Temple period, there are other things that are added. I have a Seder plate down here on the table you can look at later.
Things were added after the Babylonian captivity, an egg was either added then—some people think it was added by Christians to represent new life. The origin of some of these additions is just murky and obscured in the fog of history. I’ve researched it, I’ve talked to a lot of other Jews— Jewish scholars—that have researched this. Nobody knows where this comes from.
One of the most interesting is the matzah tash—this is a matzah tash. The bread that is eaten is the matzah. It is unleavened bread. Now the matzah tash is a container for the matzah, and it has three compartments in it, so you have three different pieces of unleavened bread.
What you do is at the beginning of the meal, they go into the middle compartment and they take out the middle and they break it, and they put it into another bag, wrap it up in a napkin. This is called the AFIKOMEN, which means after, it’s the Greek word for dessert. You take that and give it to a child or someone and they go hide it. Later on they have to find it.
Now the question is where does this come from? Okay, let’s go through the slides. We have this matzah tash—it’s broken. It’s called the “bread of affliction,” so it has to do with suffering. At this time they’ll start to rehearse the story of the Exodus.
As matzah is made today, you can see it here. I’ve heard some Jewish messianic scholars say, “Well, it has to be pierced, it has to be striped.” We’re not sure if that’s how it was at the time of Jesus; that’s how it’s manufactured today. But I’ve had matzah at some Seder meals in Israel that’s not quite like this. It’s unleavened bread, but it doesn’t look like our nice little Manischewitz matzah that we pick up at Kroger.
This is the matzah that’s inside, and this was the piece that the Lord broke and passed out to His disciples. Now we’re not sure when this came into effect, but some messianic Jews think that it came into effect after Jesus and was introduced into the Seder meal. Others think it was before. We’re not sure.
The way the Seder is observed today, you read it in the Haggadah, which is the book of instructions, and this was codified by a guy named Judah the Prince or Judah HaNasi around AD 200. That’s about 150, 170 years after Jesus.
a) Things didn’t change as much and as rapidly at that time as they do now.
b) The Pharisees were fairly conservative people. They weren’t introducing a lot of new things all the time.
I don’t think a lot of things had changed. They write it down and codify around AD 200, but what they’re writing down has been going on for several hundred years. So I just don’t know.
But it’s interesting that in the modern observance of the Seder, you have these three compartments, and they come up with various explanations.
Some people think that it stands for the prophets and the priests and the Levites or the Levites and Israel, and the prophets or different things like that. They have no real idea what it is, but it’s interesting that if it’s the prophets and the priests in Israel, why would you take the priests out and break them?
But if it’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and Jesus takes the middle one out and breaks it, it makes perfect sense. “This is My body.” It is a picture of the Trinity.
The piercing of the matzah reminds us of Zechariah 12:10, “… then they will look on me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one who mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one who grieves for a firstborn.”
The AFIKOMEN is then taken, put in a special bag, and removed. We will skip past some of these slides because I’ve already explained this.
Here’s the explanation from most Jews. It’s either Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; or Levites, The Torah, The Nevi’im; or could be the Scripture—The Torah, Nevi’im, Ketubi’im; but they don’t explain why it’s broken.
As they sat down to eat, they would have the first cup.
They would say the Kaddesh, which is a prayer of blessing, when they took the first cup, which means, “Blessed are You our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to remove chametz. So you remove the leaven; that’s at the very beginning. Kaddesh means sanctification, and then they would drink the first cup of wine.
Some people say, “Well, wait a minute. Wine is fermented.” No, wine is the result of a fermented process, but the fermentation, the yeast is gone. It’s done its work, so it’s not leaven anymore. That’s been removed, and that’s why Jews have wine at Passover. It’s four cups of wine, not four cups of grape juice. I know that bothers some folks, but it doesn’t fit.
There’s the washing of the hands, and Jesus adds washing the feet in John 13:1–18, and this is the first prediction of Judas’ betrayal.
In that whole episode where He is washing their feet, it’s a picture of cleansing again and it’s a picture of the need for confession, which is why He tells Peter, “If you don’t let me do this, then you will not have a part.” Where there’s MEROS, it means you won’t have a portion of the inheritance in the kingdom. It doesn’t mean he won’t be saved, but there won’t be rewards unless there’s this ongoing cleansing.
This is what Jesus is teaching, and it is during the supper. If you look at the text in your King James or New King James, it says “after supper”, but it’s “during” the course of the meal. It’s at the beginning of the meal.
John 13:2, “During supper, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him …” Notice this is Satan’s influence, but we learn from Luke that Satan has already indwelt him. He’s put this idea into Judas’ thinking and he is going to betray Jesus.
John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and taking a towel, He girded Himself.”
This is when He washes the disciples’ feet, which is a picture of forgiveness and cleansing. The focal point of all His teaching is at the end in John 13:34–35 when He says, “… love one another as I have loved you.”
Forgiving one another is part of loving one another. It’s not a picture of being a servant—which is often a misunderstanding that you will hear taught here—it is a picture of the necessity of forgiveness and loving one another.
Then there’s a second prediction of the betrayal by Judas. This is the first dip. There’s a little cup down there on the Seder tray. That’s saltwater, and it is a reminder of the bitterness of the experience in Egypt. You would take a bitter herb like parsley or lettuce, and you dip it. That’s called the Karpas, described in Matthew 26:21–25, Mark 14:18–21, and Luke 22:21–23.
With this first dip, Jesus is going to indicate that the one who is going to betray Him is Judas. But the way they lie down; in reclining, He’s probably lying on His left shoulder and Judas is next to Him on His left. When He does this and He gives it to Judas, nobody else really sees it. It’s a private indication.
Matthew 26:20–21, “When evening had come”—at dusk—“He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ ”
They’re just like a bunch of self-absorbed Christians today. You’re not any different. They go, “Is it me?” Nobody can think objectively. They just get sucked into subjectivity, “Gee, it couldn’t be me.” Well, it could, but it’s not.
Matthew 26:22, “And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say, ‘Lord is it I?’ ”
Matthew 26:23, “He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.” He’s already dipped that parsley; that’s the first dipping.
Matthew 26:24–25, “The Son of Man indeed goes 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.’ Then Judas who was betraying Him, answered and said, ‘Rabbi is it I?’ He said to him, ‘You have said it.’ ”
It’s the same idiom today. “You have said it!” Jesus said, “You said it, you got it right.”
So that identifies Judas.
Then we come to the next event in the Seder meal. That’s the breaking of the matzah, which I have already demonstrated, and this is when Jesus broke the matzah. It’s described in Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; and 1 Corinthians 11:23–24.
Matthew 26:26, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ ”
He identifies the matzah as His body. It is a symbol representing His humanity. Now His humanity is without sin. That’s the focal point of it being unleavened. Leaven represents sin. There’s no sin in the unleavened bread. It represents the sinlessness of Jesus Christ. If there had been even a little white lie, Jesus would not have been qualified to go to the Cross.
Think about what disqualified everybody. It was when Adam ate a piece of fruit. That’s not a biggie on most people’s list of sins. Most people identify huge things as sins, but anything that violates the commandment of God is a sin. So Jesus is sinless, and that’s pictured by the matzah.
When Paul writes about this to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 11:23–24, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you; that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ ”
You can see that when Paul writes, he gives the full statement. The gospel just said, “Take eat, this is My body.” But Paul goes on to say, “which is broken for you.”
Then we get to the third prediction of the betrayal by Judas.
This is called the Korekh. This is where you take this sandwich. They call it the Hillel sandwich— Hillel was a famous Rabbi at the time. You take this mixture called charoseth, which is a blend of chopped up apple and nuts and honey and little cinnamon and maybe a little lemon juice, and you put it out the day before, and it gets all brown because it’s supposed to represent the mortar that they would use in the bricks.
But of course the Pharaoh took away the mortar, so that represents those breaks and the labor, and you combine that with some horseradish, and you put that into the sandwich. They would eat this Hillel sandwich because it’s a little sweet, but it’s also going to bring tears to your eyes.
This is also a reminder of what is about to happen, that Jesus is going to be betrayed, as the Psalms predicted, by a friend. So they eat this sandwich.
In John 13:21–23 we read, “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit …” That means He’s having an emotional response to these events. I keep telling people it’s not the emotion that’s necessarily wrong, it’s what you do with it. So He’s going to be betrayed by a close friend. He’s troubled in spirit and He says, “ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you one of you will betray Me.’ Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” That’s how John always refers to himself in the Gospel. So that’s John.
Simon Peter is also there at the head of the table; and therefore, he motions to John, “Hey, John, ask him!” John 13:24–26, “Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, John says to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ ”
He is it is not speaking in his outdoor voice; He’s just quietly asking the Lord, “Who is it? Tell us.” And Jesus said, “ ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread”—He takes that Hillel sandwich and—“He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”
He’s dipping the sandwich. He’s made it with the charoseth and He is dipping it in the horseradish. Yum. Are you salivating yet?
Then they come to the third cup, called the Cup of Redemption. This is described in Matthew 26:27–29, Mark 14:23–25, Luke 22:20 as well as 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.
Matthew 26:27–28, “Then He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ ”
He identifies His blood—that is the shedding of blood, His death—as the sacrifice that is the foundation for the New Covenant. He’s not saying it begins the New Covenant, but it is the sacrifice that establishes the New Covenant. It will come into effect when Jesus returns to establish His kingdom, Jeremiah 31:31–33.
His blood is shed for the remission of sins—the King James Version—that’s the word APHESIS which means forgiveness. It means to cancel a debt, and it’s the cancellation of sin.
This is the third cup; in 1 Corinthians 11:25 Paul says. “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
There’s no set pattern given in the New Testament for the frequency of observing the Lord’s Table. It’s “as often as we do this” ... Some people do it every week; some groups do it once a quarter. We do it once a month on the second Sunday of every month.
But the Passover—the Seder—that Jesus observed with His disciples not only looked back to the redemption from slavery in Egypt and that original Passover and Seder looked forward to the coming of the Messiah who would redeem us from sin.
Jesus also adds a predictive element to the Lord’s Table. It’s not just looking back and remembering what Jesus did on the Cross, it is also a future focus and that comes up in Matthew 26:29–30.
Jesus said, “ ‘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.’ ”
There were four cups that were taken in the course of the meal. He takes the third cup as the cup of redemption, but He doesn’t take the fourth cup. The fourth cup is the cup that relates to the Messiah in the Kingdom. He doesn’t take it because He will not take it until He comes in His kingdom.
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” They would have sung the second part of the Hallel Psalms, probably Psalms 115–118—some say 117 and 118—and they would’ve sung this. They did not drink from the fourth cup and then it ended.
But since that fourth cup was not taken, it leaves us with a future focus.
This morning we’re celebrating the Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table is a time of remembrance. It’s a time of thanksgiving. It’s a time of worship where we should not only look back, but we should look forward to the coming of our Lord.
It is a time when we as the body of Christ are fellowshipping. It’s a meal; we are fellowshipping with God. It is a time for the believer to be in fellowship, which is why we prayed earlier, we make sure we are in right relationship with the Lord. It is our time as a body of Christ. That’s why it’s called communion. Communion is another term for fellowship. This is also our time to look forward.
I’m going to ask for the men to come forward, and as they come forward I’m going to ask Mark Risinger to go ahead and come on up here, so that he can return thanks for the bread.
“Heavenly Father, we thank You this morning for Your perfect plan of redemption. It was in place before You created the world and that You’ve revealed Yourself throughout history through Your Word so that we may see glimpses of not only our salvation but our future glorification. As we take this bread, we ask that we would focus on Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
We will retain the bread until all have been served.
When Jesus took the matzah, He broke it, passed it out to His disciples and He said, “This is my body. Take and eat.”
I’m going to ask Greg Friehauf to please come up and return thanks for the cup.
“Gracious Heavenly Father, we’re taught in Romans 3 that we’re condemned at birth because of the imputation of Adam’s sin to us, and we have no ability to have fellowship with you. Yet in Your grace plan, Your grace provision, and Your mercy, You provided the perfect Mediator for us in Your Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and that His work on the Cross led to us being reconciled to You.
“We pray now that You would help us to focus our attention on our Lord’s spiritual death for us and the possibility that as a believer we can have the imputation of the righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We ask these things in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in His name we pray, amen.”
It is our custom to retain the cup until all have been served.
When our Lord came to the third cup, He took it and He said, “This is the new covenant of My blood, which is shed for you. As often as you drink this, do so in remembrance of Me.”
When they finished they sang a hymn before they went out. We sing hymn #185, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”