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Home arrow Daniel arrow Luke 22:1-23: Do This in Remembrance of Me
Luke 22:1-23: Do This in Remembrance of Me Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 November 2013

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People are forgetful.  We struggle to remember what matters most in this life.  Because of this, God has repeatedly given His people ways to remember.  If you read through the Old Testament, you see many examples of this.  Israel was instructed to remember Godís delivery of them from Egypt by observing the Passover celebration each year, which is the background for our passage this morning.  Likewise, they were instructed to set up Ďstones of remembranceí after they crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land (see Joshua 4).  The celebration of Purim was established so that the people of Israel would remember Godís delivery of them in the days of Esther (see Esther 9:20ff).  Not only that, but many of the songs that Israel sang, which we call the psalms, were written as reminders of what God had done for the people.  God knew that they would struggle to remember at times and so He came up with these various ways to help them remember.

In our passage this morning, we see the primary way that God has given us to remember our salvation, namely the Lordís Supper.  Every time we break the bread and pour the cup we are called to remember what Jesus did for us at the cross.  We are never to forget His sacrifice for our sins.  Yet, what exactly are we to remember?  When we eat the bread each week and drink the cup, what are we remembering?  In Lukeís telling of how this Supper began, we see a number of important truths about Jesusí death that we are to remember.  Letís consider these.

Jesusí death is part of Godís plan

Jesus knew that He had come to die.  As He made His way to Jerusalem, He repeatedly told His disciples of what was going to happen to Him once they made it to the city (see 9:21-22, 9:44, 18:31-33).  Yet, how exactly was this going to happen?  As we have seen, the scribes and chief priests have been seeking to destroy Him ever since He came into the city (see 19:47-48).  But they had a problem.  Look at verses 1-2.  They knew that if they just went after Jesus publicly, then they offend the people, which they did not want to do.  So they were desperate for a way to get rid of Him without doing it in front of the crowds.  But how?

The answer to their dilemma comes from an odd place.  Look at verses 3-6.  Judas, one of the twelve, agreed to betray Jesus.  The Enemy had finally found his more opportune time.  We are not told exactly what it means for Satan to enter Judas, but it is clear that he was involved in getting Jesus to the cross.  Judas, apparently for nothing more than a few coins, opened himself up to the influence of Satan, and actively betrayed Jesus.  Even now, two thousand years later, it is still a shocking truth: one of Jesusí own disciples gave Him up.  It is important for us to note the warning that comes with this truth.  Just because we feel like we are one of the insiders with Jesus, that does not mean that we could not be inwardly betraying Him. Judas makes that clear.

Yet, there is more going here than meets the eye.  We might be tempted to think that Judas and the scribes have gotten the upper-hand on Jesus.  But Jesus knows exactly what is going on.  In fact, it is part of Godís plan.  Look at verses 21-23.  After Jesus shares the Lordís Supper with His disciples (with Judas, no less) He lets them know that one among them is going to betray Him.  But notice the language: For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined.  The betrayal of Jesus by Judas was determined by God.  It was part of His plan.  He is sovereign over everything that is happening. 

So does that mean that Judas is not responsible for his actions?  No, for Jesus goes on: but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.  God is sovereign even over the actions of evil men, but all men are responsible for their own actions.  Such teaching is hard and has become controversial, but we need to see both that God is sovereign and men are responsible if we are going to faithfully understand the Bible.  One of my commentatorís writes: ďThe cross was not some kind of tragic misfortune.  The empty tomb was not a lucky break.  It was all in Godís perfect and sovereign plan.  Even the betrayal was part of Godís predetermined purposeÖNevertheless, Judas was still responsible for his own free and sinful choice.  Godís sovereignty does not diminish manís responsibility.  This great mystery may be hard for us to understand, but it is easy to see that this what the Bible teaches.Ē

We also see Godís plan being played out in the preparation for the Passover meal.  Look at verses 7-13.  How did Jesus know that a man carrying a jar of water would greet them?  Such a thing was rare in those days (normally women carried water in jars).  Jesus knew because it was His plan.  He had planned to eat the Passover meal with His disciples in Jerusalem.  Perhaps He had prearranged this circumstance, but either way, He was clearly in control of what was happening, for it took place just as he had told them.  Jesus was in complete control.  It was His plan to give His life for us at the cross.

Jesusí death is the fulfillment of the Passover

All of the Gospel writers include the fact that Jesusí death took place during Passover.  Look at verse 1 and verse 7.  Why is this significant?  The Passover was the celebration of God delivering Israel from slavery to the Egyptians.  They would sacrifice a lamb to remember Godís instructions concerning putting blood over their doors so that they would be passed over.  It was the sacrifice of the lamb that rescued their firstborn from death.  The salvation of Israel through the blood of the lamb points forward to Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God.  He had come to offer Himself as our Passover Lamb, as Paul calls Him (see 1 Corinthians 5:7).  He will be the One who suffers.  Look at verse 15.  The meal that He is sharing points to His own sacrifice.  The salvation being remembered points forward to the salvation that comes through faith in Jesusí death, which leads to our next important truth.

Jesusí death establishes the new covenant

The last meal that Jesus shares with His disciples is profound in what it teaches us.  In a real sense, Jesus is transforming the Passover meal.  It will no longer be a meal that just looks back to the deliverance of Israel.  From now on, it will look back to His death and the deliverance of men from every tongue, tribe, and nation, who put their faith in Him.  In this sense, it is the last Passover and the first Lordís Supper.  Just as Israel remembered through Passover, so now, we remember through the Lordís Supper.  And what do we remember?  We remember that Jesus gave His body for us.  Look at verse 19.  Given for you.  Those are powerful words.  When Jesus died on the cross, He was giving His body for us.  He was dying in our place.  He was our substitute. 

Why did He do this?  Jesus died on the cross to establish a new covenant between us and God.  Look at verse 20.  With His own blood, Jesus purchased our forgiveness, our reconciliation, our peace, our new life, our redemption, our salvation.  When He shed His blood at Calvary, the covenant between us and God was sealed.  All those who turn from their sins and believe in His death and resurrection enter into this new covenant with God.  And nothing, not death or life or things present or things to come or anything in all creation, can break that covenant, for it was sealed with our Saviorís blood.  All of this points to one final truth that we need to remember about Jesusí death.

Jesusí death guarantees our future victory

This last supper points to a future supper.  Look at verses 15-18.  Jesus knows that this is the last supper that He will enjoy with His disciples on the earth.  But He also knows that it is not the last supper that they will ever enjoy.  No, there is a future supper.  Once the Kingdom comes in all of its fullness and the King returns to gather His Bride from all the nations, we will all sit down with Him at the wedding supper of the Lamb.  Can you imagine what it will be like to sit down at table with Jesus?  What a celebration that will be!

Just as the Passover pointed back to Israelís deliverance and pointed forward to the coming of the Lamb of God, so the Lordís Supper points back to Jesusí death and forward to His return.  As Paul taught us to do, we eat and drink in remembrance of Him until He comes back for us.  We remember His death, His sacrifice for us at the cross, and we long for His return and the consummation of our salvation.

My professor tells the story of visiting the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.  There is a similar museum in Washington D.C. that I was able to visit a few years ago.  It is a hard experience, one that stays with you.  At the museum in Jerusalem, my professor told us that one of the last things you see there is the Hebrew word for Ďrememberí.  It is there so that visitors will not forget the horrors that took place during those years.  These museums are there so that we will remember.

It is dangerous to forget.  God knows this and gave Israel ways to remember their history.  In the same way, He has given us ways to remember what He has done for us at the cross.  What are some of these ways?

First, we remember through our disciplines.  We get up each morning and spend time in prayer, thanking God for how He has saved us.  We read His Word and marvel at what He has done for us through Christ.  We come to Church and sing of our glorious redemption.  These disciplines help us remember what Jesus did for us at Calvary.

Second, we remember by coming to the table each week.  Why do we break the bread and drink the cup each week?  We do it to remember that Jesus gave His body and spilled His blood for our salvation.  We do it so that we will never forget His sacrifice.  And we do it to remember that He is coming back.  We come to the table in faith that One Day, we will sit down to feast with Him face to face.  So then, let us gather together around the table this morning remembering all that Jesus has done for us.  Let us break the bread remembering His body that was given.  Let us drink the cup remembering His blood that established the new covenant that we now enjoy.  May we never forget.  May we never forget the sacrifice of our Savior, the Lamb of God.  Amen. 

1 Philip Graham Ryken, Luke, Vol 2 REC (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), p. 474-75.

 ~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 January 2014 )

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