The season is fast approaching that we will celebrate the sacrifice and victory of our Savior upon the cross. Yes beloved I realize that it is February and for many of us there is snow on the ground. Yet all I can think of is spring. We exist in the present, yet we prepare for the future. It will be here before you and I know it, and I want my mind renewed and ready for all the blessings that God has in store for us in this upcoming season.
Jesus shared His last pre-cross meal with His disciples during this spring season nearly 2000 years ago. This meal still causes believers to ponder and cry out as the ancient Israelites did when GOD gave them their first meal in the wilderness – Manna – What is it?
It is a valid question. We should examine and understand the gifts that have been placed into our hands.
As I began to study and prepare for this lesson, I went online and learned that many believers are still having this discussion about the last supper of Jesus.
Is it Communion? Is it the Passover? Or is it something else? When I partake of the bread and wine what am I doing and what I am joining myself to? Was Jesus giving us something new on that faithful night with the disciples? Or was He doing something even more precious?
We have an awaiting bridegroom who desperately wants to reveal his true self to his bride. Now, just like anyone in a relationship you don’t want to give away the treasure of who you really are to someone who does not value that gift. So here is what Yeshua decided to do. He wrapped himself and His plan into a puzzle and those who truly value Him would seek Him and this type of embrace from Him.
We have the honor of Kings, to seek out the intimate things of GOD.
Today, we are going to delve into the world of history and custom; emblems and patterns; truth and tradition. However, the heart of Jesus’ last meal is something far more precious than the parts. This meal is about courtship, betrothal and provision.
First things first, let’s set the context. The Last Supper is a meal, so let’s set the table.
Who is partaking in this Last Supper – Jesus and His disciples
Where is taking place – The Upper Room, Jerusalem
When is it taking place – 14th of Nisan (the 1st month of the Biblical year)
approx. 30 C.E. (1st century) evening
What are they eating – a regular meal? - No. Jesus is specific.
In Luke 22:8 - Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."
Jesus says again in Luke: 22 14 -16, 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve[a] apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus called His last meal the Passover.
What is the Passover?
Passover is the reliving of the Israelites last night of slavery to the Egyptians. The night the death angel went through Egypt to kill the uncovered First Born. This was the only plague that the Israelites had instructions to follow and a choice in whether or not each house would participate. Blood was smeared on the doorpost and lentil of each home, a lamb inspected, killed & roasted; bread was baked with haste –without leaven - and a meal eaten. If the Israelites did not follow the instructions given by God and accept the sacrifice of the Lamb, they would have the same fate as the Egyptians.
The meal became known as the Seder, which means order. Out of the chaos of bondage comes the order that emanates from deliverance. There are three major foods at this meal were- bread, lamb and the fruit of the vine.
During the Passover meal a child usually asks “Why is this night different from all others?”
Why? This is the night of the four I wills of God.
6 “Tell the Israelites, ‘I am Yahweh. I will bring you out from under the oppression of the Egyptians, and I will free you from slavery. I will rescue you with my powerful arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 Then I will make you my people, and I will be your Elohim. You will know that I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians.
Four cups of wine were drunk at the Passover meal based upon those verses.
- The Cup of Sanctification – based on God’s statement, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”
- The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance- based on God’s statement, “I will deliver you from slavery to them”
- The Cup of Redemption – based on God’s statement, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm”
- The Cup of Praise or Restoration – based on God’s statement, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God”
Do this as my Zikaron.
Not remembrance but reliving. Every subsequent Passover was to be eaten by the participants as if they were eating with Moses and the 1st generation of Israelites leaving Egypt. It was not, to memorialize what had been done but to relive – to gain the personal experience of the hand of God delivering the person from bondage. That was the mind-set that the disciples were coming to the Passover table with Jesus on the evening of the 14th of Nisan.
Everything was established in the beginning; but everything was not revealed.
For the Israelites to Passover and be delivered they had to make a choice. To have their breakthrough they had to partake of the Messiah. Did they know it was Him? No, they just had a puzzle piece – not the big picture.
What the disciples and the previous generations did not know was that Jesus was the creator of the Passover. He was the first to set this table; and with Jesus leading the Seder meal the hidden things were about to become visible.
The table is set and the guests are seated. Let’s start.
The Modern Passover meal takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete (It will probably take that long to teach it.) and as in Jesus’ day it is in two parts - dinner when the first two cups are drunk and desert when the last two cups are drunk. Jesus followed this pattern, but for the sake time we are going to focus on desert. Desert is where the fun stuff happens.
The third cup, the cup of Redemption is eaten -after supper- with desert. We have a special desert at this meal call the Afikomen. It is a matzoth - pierced, covered in stripes and without leaven- which is pulled from the middle of a stack of three matzos. Desert is broken in half, wrapped in a towel or napkin and hidden in the room. When it was time for desert the children were sent to look for it and when it was found the kids held it for ransom. The Leader must buy it back from them in order to go forward with the meal. To find the Afikomen was to find great treasure.
To seek and find the Messiah is precious thing. It is a thing to be cherished as the Messiah Cherishes you. The Afikomen is the last morsel of food given at the Seder. Once Jesus receives the Afikomen in His hands, He says the words that we know so well.
Luke 22:19b “This is My body which is given [broken] for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
He then takes the cup – the 3rd cup - the cup of Redemption
20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
Was Jesus doing something new? No. He was bringing wholeness to what He started in the beginning. Remember Jesus is the author of the Passover. What Moses received; Jesus gave him and He gave it with eternal purpose. But He did not tell Moses everything. The Afikomen and the cup of Redemption have always been a part of the Passover Seder. Their meaning has been the same from the beginning, but the meaning (just like the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle) was veiled. Jesus was ripping up the curtain that clouded their understanding so all could see.
Jesus was saying, “I am more than just your rabbi. I am the bread that came down from Heaven. I am the manna that fed you in wilderness. I am the one who promised to redeem you from the foundation of the world. I promised it to Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and I am here to do what I promised. Peter gets it later on calling Jesus in his letter, the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world. This moment had been planned from before the beginning of the world. The Passover is a love note written in code to His beloved and Jesus is decoding the message.
Jesus says, “This do in remembrance of me.” Remembrance in the Greek of this verse is Anamnesis-which is the Hebrew Zikaron. Jesus was saying the next time you do this and every time after, Do this with revelatory knowledge. Relive this moment with me.
Afikomen is a Greek word that entered in to the language of the Passover in the late first century. It means, “He is here.” So why is a gentile word grafted onto a Hebrew ceremony? It’s all about language. Biblical Hebrew has no present tense. In it the future and the past are only separated from the present by a second. You are entering the future and leaving the past all of time. So in Biblical Hebrew a thing is either perfect or imperfect; complete or yet to be completed. Akifomen is used to state that Messiah Jesus- our Passover- dwells in the midst of your reliving of this meal.
Back to the table.
After taking the 3rd cup, they sang a Song of Praise and ended the meal leaving the fourth cup (on your chart) untouched.
Why end the meal with the 3rd Cup?
The 3rd cup of Redemption has another name. The cup of Betrothal.
The church has another name what is it? The Bride of Christ.
What is another name for Jesus? The Bridegroom.
Jesus was given three gifts at His birth - (gold, frankincense, myrrh) – and they reveal Him as four different things - Prophet, Priest, King & Bridegroom.
Jesus is operating as the Bridegroom and is following the custom of the Bridegroom as set forth in Judean tradition. At the table with the disciples, He recites the Betrothal promise that every Hebrew man said to his bride before going away to prepare the honeymoon chamber.
John 14 1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
The Groom would leave to prepare a place fitting to establish His wife.
Jesus was in the midst of a transition – His transition from rabbi to the suffering servant foretold in Isaiah chapter 53. Jesus left the table to render payment of the Bride’s price to Bride’s father or guardian.
Jesus paid a Bride’s price, but He does something interesting. According to Deuteronomy, a bride’s price is required when the groom violates the bride and the bride is no longer virginal. The perspective groom pays a virgins price of 50 shekels for the privilege of obtaining her as a wife and He can never divorce her.
But Jesus didn’t violate His bride. He had been faithful and gentlemanly to her from the beginning. It is she who had not been faithful to Him. Because of our break away from God at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis, we emancipated ourselves from the Almighty’s covering and submitted ourselves to a new guardian – the prince of this world, Satan. Not knowing we were entering bondage by joining him. Usually when the bride was found unfaithful, the marriage does not happen, she is stoned to death. Our groom Jesus said I want her anyway and I will pay to restore her purity.
Jesus now has to pay the price – the blood on the cross- to get us, His bride-back. To ransom or redeem us; just like the Afikomen desert after the Passover meal. He pays it to the representative of the world’s system the Roman Authorities in the form of crucifixion.
Now, right now, He is preparing a honeymoon chamber fit for His Virginal Bride.
Sometimes it took months to prepare a honeymoon chamber and only the groom’s father could give the final okay that the chamber was ready and that the groom could go back and collect his bride.
The four cup of Passover, the cup of Restoration could not be drunk by Jesus until the Bride was in her rightful place. Full restoration is the Bride at Jesus side at the wedding feast when He returns in splendor.
Until then, we practice, we prepare and make ready for that day. We relive the betrothal meal of the Passover with Him until the wedding is upon us.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Jesus is in the business of keeping promises down to the smallest detail. He will fulfill every promise He has given in His word. Whether given in word or in picture puzzle. No “I will of God” will be left unanswered. The wedding feast is being prepared. He who shall come will come and will not tarry.
Bride be ready.