MPGC4 - THE LAST SUPPER- The End and The Beginning
Jesus knew that events would move quickly towards his death and he would have one last time with all of his disciples. This "last supper" as it has come to be called would also be the first communion. They would come together one last time under the old covenant so that the new covenant could begin.
The timing for this feast was the Passover, celebrated in all Jewish homes. It was one of three compulsory feasts. All adult Jewish males within 15 miles of Jerusalem were expected to come. The historical significance of the feast was that it marked God's deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. It also marked the gathering of the barley harvest.
For Jesus it would mark an end and a beginning. The symbolism of the Passover deliverance would now reoccur in the shedding of his own blood as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He knew what was coming but his disciples did not.
Here at this Passover feast would be one last time of teaching. For you and I to understand the relevance for today we need to examine the Passover, and the new covenant. These are not just interesting intellectual concepts. They are vital for every man and woman today that is in their own unique bondage and longs to be free.
THE LAST SUPPER - The End and The Beginning
PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER
Day 1- Things that are truly important in life need preparation. With thousands crowding into Jerusalem rental rooms were likely to be scarce. Jesus did not leave all this to chance. He prepared for his death with the same efficiency in which he lived.
Matthew 26: 17-19
Day 2- In Mark's gospel we see further details of divine direction. In these brief verses we see the Lord's foreknowledge of all things.
Luke gives a further description as to which two disciples went on ahead to make preparation.
NOTE: A man carrying an earthen water jar was probably a prearranged signal as this was a job done by women. A man would definitely stand out.
We are not to take lightly the things of God and the celebration concerning them. Planning and preparation are needed for these events so that our focus can be on God.
THE PASSOVER - A Historical Event
Day 3- Because of a deep famine in the land of Canaan the Israelites had been invited to move to the land of Goshen in Egypt. God had used Joseph, son of Jacob, to arrange this deliverance from the famine.
Genesis 46: 1-4 / Genesis 47:1-6, 11
It was more than 300 years from the time of Moses that the Hebrew people had emigrated from the neighboring land of Palestine. They settled in the land of Goshen, prospered and grew to over two million in number. But, they remained a distinct people and never blended into Egyptian society. In time they became open to suspicion and hate.
Four hundred years had passed from when the Hebrews had been invited to settle in Egypt. The leader of Egypt now feared their growing numbers. With their strength they could easily form an alliance with Egypt's enemies. It was time to do something.
With great resolve Pharoah decided to wear them out and reduce their numbers by slave labor. He forced them to work in the brick fields under cruel task masters. No occasion was spared to dish out cruel and merciless punishment. In this desperate situation God heard the cries of his people and made plans for the great Exodus.
Day 4- Death was God's sentence upon every household throughout Egypt EXCEPT for those that believed in the one true God.
Exodus 11: 4-7
NOTE: The Passover was a point in history that marked the end of the road for Pharaoh and the Egyptians but the beginning for the Israelites. Notice the second part of :
Day 5- How would the angel of death sent by God know who to destroy and who to save?
Exodus 12:7, 12-13
Day 6- There was no question of personal worthiness or working hard enough. Self had nothing to do with it. All under the cover of the blood were completely saved.
Exodus 12: 22-23
Day 7- On the night of the Passover, everything happened just as God said it would.
Exodus 12: 28-30
Day 8- It prepared the way for Pharaoh to let the Israelites go!
Exodus 12: 31-33
Day 9- This was to be a day to remember down through the ages.
Exodus 12:24-27, 42 / Deuteronomy 16:1-8
It was to this week long celebration that Jesus and his disciples arrived in Jerusalem to partake of the Passover meal.
THE NEW COVENANT - Our Secret To Freedom
Day 10- As the supper progressed Jesus took the bread and the wine and he blessed them before distributing them. When he came to the wine what did He say about it?
Matthew 26:28 / Mark 14:24-25 / Luke 22:20
Depending on the Bible version you are reading you will notice the word covenant or new covenant within these verses. Our knowledge of this new covenant is one of the most important things that we can know as Christians. It is the secret to walking in freedom and joy and doing it all the time!
We will not understand that Jesus came to usher in the new covenant until we see what the old covenant was. For this we must start at the beginning.
WHAT IS A COVENANT?
Day 11- Before the creation of the world there was fellowship in Heaven between God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This mystery of the Trinity (three Gods in one person) means that relationship was possible and therefore love was possible.
John 17:5, 24
Day 12- The loving heart of God is so big. He wanted to share all that He had and do so with an many as possible. So man was created in God's likeness and therefore became the only creatures on earth able to have a relationship with God.
Genesis 1:27 / Genesis 5:1 / Genesis 9:6
Day 13- Real love and fellowship are only possible when people are free to choose. Therefore man was made like God in that he could choose to love God or not. To test this choice God gave man everything to use and eat except for the fruit from one tree.
Day 14- God wanted to live and work through man and enjoy a moment by moment fellowship. The one secret to man's happiness was that he have a trustful surrender of his whole being to the will and working of God.
Our first parents failed their one test and sin entered onto the earth. They now feared God and fled from Him. Their relationship with God was essentially destroyed. They no longer knew God as before and therefore did not love or trust Him.
Day 15- The power of sin would now grip all men. It would grip Adam and Eve and all their offspring down to our own generation.
Psalm 53:3 / Isaiah 64:6 / Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:8
Redemption from this power of sin can only be effected by God but man must desire it. If a man believes, then God can do anything.
Day 16- From the moment of Adam and Eve's sin, man began to choose an evil way over God's way. Sin in all forms came to be a part of men's lives all the time. How did this effect God?
Genesis 6:5-6, 11-12
What did He decide to do?
Genesis 6:7, 13
Day 17- There was one man at this time - Noah - who found favor with God (Genesis 6:8). Although God destroyed all men with a flood he preserved Noah and his family along with two of every living creature. With this remnant, the world started over. A covenant was made by God with Noah and all living creatures on earth. What did God promise?
Genesis 8:20-22 / Genesis 9:8-17
Day 18- A covenant is a device of God's grace. It is a revelation of God's purposes. It is a security for us that the things God has promised to the ones He is covenanted with will be done. A covenant gives men a hold upon God in expectation and hope. God's one object in entering a covenant with men is to draw them to Himself. He wants to bring us into the place where he can fill us with Himself -- His love and His blessedness. Salvation is the only object of a covenant and therefore it must be initiated by God.
2 Samuel 23:5 / Isaiah 54:10
WHAT IS MEANT BY THE OLD COVENANT?
There were several covenants recorded in the Old Testament. We have just seen one that God made with Noah. But it's the covenant that God made with the entire nation of Israel that we refer to as the Old Covenant.
Day 19- This covenant was delivered to the Israelites through Moses on Mt. Sinai (Horeb). What did God promise the Israelites on condition of their obedience?
Exodus 19:5-6 / Exodus 34:10-11
Moses wrote down all that the Lord said in "the book of the covenant" (Exodus 24:4 & Exodus 34:27) and read it to the people. What was their response?
This covenant was then ratified by a covenant sacrifice and sprinkling of blood.
NOTE: The Hebrew root word for covenant means "cut". It explains the strange custom of two people passing through the cut bodies of slain animals or the sprinkling of animal blood on the altar and the people. Also the ritual of circumcision that became a sign of their covenant with God.
Day 20- Through the old covenant God gave man the opportunity to prove what he could do with grace from God. But instead of proving what they could do what actually happened?
Through Moses and his prayers for the people God's wrath was stopped against them and the covenant renewed.
Man ended up proving his own unfaithfulness and failure over and over and over.
Day 21- The old covenant, based on man's obedience, created a spirit of bondage in all men. They wanted to keep God's law, they tried hard to obey His commands but they never could. So today there are many of us trying hard to be good Christians but failing miserably day after day, year after year. This old covenant, dependant on obedience, led to a very important discovery. The Apostle Paul expresses this discovery well. Write out for yourself what it is.
Day 22- The first great lesson God would teach us through the old covenant based on the law was the lesson of sin. Throughout the time of the old covenant man with all his effort was unable to keep his side of the covenant. Why? Because he was hopelessly captive to sin.
Romans 5:12 / Romans 7: 7-13
Day 23- The second great lesson God would teach through the law was the lesson of holiness. We are utterly impotent to deliver ourselves from sin and therefore we cannot stand before a holy God.
Romans 7:21-23 / Romans 8:8
Day 24- This discovery that sin's power controls us so that we cannot obey made the way for the New Covenant. When we realize that we are filled with a sin nature that cannot obey God we become open for God's revelation of a new way. God wants to reveal to us that our true liberty from sin and self is to be found in absolute dependence upon God being and doing all FOR us from his home within our own heart.
Are you tired of trying and failing? Be glad if you are because you are ready for the revelation of the New Covenant.
Next Study: MPGC#5