Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper

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.”

27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 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.”

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. – Matthew 26:26-30.

The Passover — The significance of the Passover is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. He takes and adapts the form of the Passover and likens the broken bread to His body which will be broken, and the poured out wine to the shedding of His blood which He is giving in order that sins may be remitted. Even in this, He again implies His resurrection and His ascension because He tells His disciples that He will drink with them again in His Father’s kingdom. They sing a hymn and go to the Mount of Olives. Christ’s eternal purpose and destiny is soon to to be fulfilled at Calvary.

“While they were eating” (v.26) — Jesus wanted to identify with the deliverance of the Exodus. He was the Lamb of God, but He chose the bread and wine, not the Passover lamb, as the symbol for the new covenant. Matthew often depicts Jesus as the second Moses, the new law-giver. Jesus brings the new exodus from sin.

“bread” — This referred to flat, unleavened bread cakes used in the Passover meal (cf. Exod. 12).

“this is My body. . .this is My blood” (vv.26-28) — The first recorded Lord’s supper is Paul’s account in 1 Cor. 11:17-34.

The Synoptic Gospels were written after some of the NT letters. The exact date is uncertain but they were not the first church writings (cf. William L. Blevins’ book Birth of a New Testament, personal publication, Carson-Newman College).

“this is My blood of the new covenant” (v.28) — This may be an allusion to Exod. 24:8.

“shed for many” — This is an allusion to Isa. 53:11-12. There has been much discussion about the relationship between “the many” of Isa. 53:11,12 and “us all” of Isa. 53:6. The parallelism of Rom. 5:17-19 may answer this question. The “all men” of Matt. 5:18 is the same as “the many” of Matt. 5:19. Jesus died for the human race (cf. John. 3:16).

“for forgiveness of sins” — This is the thrust of the New Covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31-34) and the significance of Jesus’ name (“YHWH saves,” cf. Matt. 1:21).

“I will not drink. . .until. . .My Father’s Kingdom” (v.29) — Jesus points us towards the day in the future when we will truly dine with Him. Thus, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper today, we can think of Jesus being spiritually present with us and also look forward to that glorious day coming, when actual fellowship with our Lord will become a reality.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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