Sabbath, January 14, 2017
“As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.
“… The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 652, 653.
The Master’s greatest desire
1. What did Jesus instruct His disciples to do to prepare for the Passover? When the time came, with whom did He celebrate the sacred service?
Matthew 26:17-20 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 20Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
“Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.
“The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 652.
2. What did Jesus tell the disciples He wanted to do? Describe the different meanings for what He said about this very special service at this very special time in history.
Luke 22:14-16 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
“It was the last Passover that Jesus would keep with His disciples. He knew that His hour was come; He Himself was the true Paschal Lamb, and on the day the Passover was eaten He was to be sacrificed. He knew that the circumstances connected with this occasion would never be forgotten by His disciples….
“On this last evening with His disciples, Jesus had much to tell them. If they had been prepared to receive what He longed to impart, they would have been saved from heartbreaking anguish, from disappointment and unbelief. But Jesus saw that they could not bear what He had to say.” –(Manuscript 106, 1903) Christ Triumphant, p. 261.
“In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing and the sacramental supper, to be observed through all time by His followers in every country. These should ever repeat Christ’s act, that all may see that true service calls for unselfish ministry.” –(Signs of the Times, May 16, 1900) Evangelism, pp. 275, 276.
A heartfelt invitation
3. After giving thanks and breaking the bread, what did Jesus invite His disciples to do? What did the broken bread that He was distributing to them signify?
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
“Our Lord has said, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you…. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.’ John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
Remembering the greatest sacrifice
4. For whom would His body soon be broken? Therefore, what was to be their responsibility from that time onward?
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.
“Our Lord says, Under conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for My sake and the gospel’s, remember My love, so great that for you I gave My life. When your duties appear stern and severe, and your burdens too heavy to bear, remember that for your sake I endured the cross, despising the shame. When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you….
“As we receive the bread and wine symbolizing Christ’s broken body and spilled blood, we in imagination join in the scene of Communion in the upper chamber. We seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of Him who bore the sins of the world. We witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. Christ is set forth crucified among us….
“The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 659, 661-653.
Symbol of the cleansing blood
5. What did the juice of the vine that He offered to them represent? How many disciples did He invite to drink of it?
Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.
“Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recounted how ‘He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord’s return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, ‘As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 659.
“Christ designed that this supper should be often commemorated, in order to bring to our remembrance His sacrifice in giving His life for the remission of the sins of all who will believe on Him and receive Him.” –(Review and Herald, June 22, 1897) Evangelism, p. 276.
Blood of the new testament
6. What testament did He seal with His blood? How far would the great result of His sacrifice in shedding His blood reach?
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
“In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer. He committed to them the new covenant, by which all who receive Him become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ. By this covenant every blessing that heaven could bestow for this life and the life to come was theirs. This covenant deed was to be ratified with the blood of Christ. And the administration of the Sacrament was to keep before the disciples the infinite sacrifice made for each of them individually as a part of the great whole of fallen humanity.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 656, 659.
“In this last act of Christ in partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, He pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer by a new covenant, in which it was written and sealed that upon all who will receive Christ by faith will be bestowed all the blessings that heaven can supply, both in this life and in the future immortal life.
“This covenant deed was to be ratified by Christ’s own blood, which it had been the office of the old sacrificial offerings to keep before the minds of His chosen people.” –(Review and Herald, June 22, 1897) Evangelism, p. 276.
Communion with Christ
7. Sharing the symbolic bread and wine, with whom do we have communion? Although we may be many, what do we become when we partake of that one bread?
1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
“To the holy Communion this scripture [John 6:54, 56, 57] in a special sense applies. As faith contemplates our Lord’s great sacrifice, the soul assimilates the spiritual life of Christ. That soul will receive spiritual strength from every Communion. The service forms a living connection by which the believer is bound up with Christ, and thus bound up with the Father. In a special sense it forms a connection between dependent human beings and God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
“The love of Jesus, with its constraining power, is to be kept fresh in our memory. Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ. The union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. And nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
8. What is said of those who will participate in the heavenly wedding supper of the Lamb?
Luke 14:15; 13:29 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God…. 13:29And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts….
“ ‘Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ Revelation 19:6-9.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 421.
– Why did Jesus wait until the last days of His life to establish the new covenant?
– Do you think there were some conditions to be met by those participating in the new covenant?
– During the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, why is it important to recall that the Redeemer established this ordinance at the same time as the new covenant? What implications does this have for us?
– In partaking with others of the wine and bread, what feelings of unity and harmony help to establish the spiritual body mentioned by the apostle Paul?
For additional study
(Review and Herald, June 14, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1139, 1140.
“He who beholds the Saviour’s matchless love will be elevated in thought, purified in heart, transformed in character. He will go forth to be a light to the world, to reflect in some degree this mysterious love. The more we contemplate the cross of Christ, the more fully shall we adopt the language of the apostle when he said, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ Galatians 6:14.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 661.
“In this ordinance, Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to Him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins of the world. He gave this simple ordinance that it might be a special season when He Himself would always be present, to lead all participating in it to feel the pulse of their own conscience, to awaken them to an understanding of the lessons symbolized, to revive their memory, to convict of sin, and to receive their penitential repentance. He would teach them that brother is not to exalt himself above brother, that the dangers of disunion and strife shall be seen and appreciated; for the health and holy activity of the soul are involved.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1139.