The Gospel of Luke - Part 92
Preparing the Disciples (1) — Luke 22:14-23

August 26, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

Last week, we looked at the first 13 verses of this chapter. We focused mainly on two subjects — the Passover and the betrayal by Judas. This week, we look at Luke’s account of the Lord’s Supper.

We outlined chapter 22 as:
A.   Preparing for the Passover     (22:1-13)
B.   Preparing the Disciples (1)   (22:14-23)
C.   Preparing the Disciples (2)   (22:24-38)
D.   Preparing thru Prayer   (22:39-46)
E.   Preparing for the Cross   (22:47-71)

Preparing the Disciples (1):

As we discovered last week, “preparation” is a theme of this whole chapter. Jesus is preparing His disciples and Himself for what lies ahead — His crucifixion and resurrection. In the next two sections (this week and next week), Jesus focuses on preparing the disciples. First, He leaves His followers with the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper to help them/us better understand the intended purpose of His death.

When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. —Luke 22:14-23
If you look over the handout from last week or if you read the record of John of the Passover supper, you’ll see that the John adds a great deal of information to the events of this evening. Before the dinner, Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet and taught them about servanthood. Probably after the Passover meal, Jesus gave them the Great Commandment:
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” —John 13:34-35
And He told them of the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit among other things. We will focus on Luke’s record for this study.  In verse 15, Luke records that Jesus said: I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you.  The event we call “the Lord's Supper” (the sharing of the bread and wine), took place during the Passover meal that Jesus ate with His disciples. Luke helps us understand the order of events.
Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. —Luke22:17
This is not the cup of wine Jesus used for the Lord's Supper. Rather, Luke records an event earlier in the meal. The Passover meal involved four cups of wine, each with different symbolic significance. We covered that last week. This reference is to one of those cups.

Some Bible scholars believe that the Lord’s Supper was included somewhere during the observance of the Passover meal. Others believe that the events of the Lord’s Supper occurred after the completion of the Passover meal.

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, —verse 20. (Verse 19 said: He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”)

Notice the sequence of events: Jesus is doing something different from the Passover Supper. Maybe “after supper” here is to make clear that this cup was not in any way related to observance of the Passover. They had finished the celebration of the Passover and now Jesus was establishing a new tradition for His disciples.

A New Covenant:

The word 'covenant' is a very important and much-used word in the Bible. It is used more than 240 times in the Old Testament and 30 times in the New. The Evangelical Dictionary of theology says that a Covenant is:

“A compact or agreement between two parties binding them mutually to undertakings on each other's behalf. Theologically (used of relations between God and man) it denotes a gracious undertaking entered into by God for the benefit and blessing of man, and specifically of those men who by faith receive the promises and commit themselves to the obligations which this undertaking involves.” [Evangelical Dictionary of Theology]
There are four primary covenants between God and people recorded in the Bible:

        (1) God's covenant with and through Abraham
        (2) God's covenant with and through Moses
        (3) God's covenant with and through David
        (4) God's covenant through Jesus, the “New Covenant”.

Jeremiah wrote of a new covenant that the Lord would establish with His people:

“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” —Jeremiah 31:31-33
When God established his covenant with Abraham, there was a blood sacrifice. The covenant established with Moses and the people was also confirmed by a blood sacrifice. Now this new covenant is sealed, not with the blood of animals, but with the blood of God's own Son.

The connection between the Passover and the Lord's Supper reminds us of certain shared truths in these two events:

    1. There is a certain and just judgment of God. Romans 14:12 states, Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.

    2. God has provided deliverance from judgment through the blood of His Son. The sacrifice of the lamb at the Passover is like the bread and the cup in the Lord's supper — they point to death of God's Son. Jesus' sacrifice shows both the seriousness of sin and immeasurable depth of God's love.

    3. God has provided but we still must choose. The Jews didn't have to sacrifice the lamb and put the blood on the doorposts. They did because they believed. Knowing about Jesus isn't enough; we must choose to believe, to put our trust in Him.

    4. We need to worship and give thanks. When God gave these instructions to the Jews, we're told that “the people bowed low and worshiped [God]”. When Jesus passed the bread and the cup, He gave thanks.

Probably the most helpful passage in Scripture for understanding the Lord’s Supper is found in First Corinthians. It also provides us with more complete information about what Jesus said and did during that first Lord’s Supper. To make sure we understand what the Lord’s Supper is intended to mean for us, let’s take some time to consider what we can learn from this passage:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. —1 Corinthians 11:23-29
It’s a time to look back.

Listen to what Jesus said:

The Lord’s Supper is a time to look back and remember Jesus’ death. We don’t want to forget all that He suffered for our sake. What are some different ways that Jesus suffered for us?
...and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said...
“Given thanks” comes from the Greek word, ευχαριστεω [eucharisteo]. Maybe you’ve heard the Lord’s Supper referred to as the Eucharist. That comes from this word. “Eucharisteo” reminds us that giving thanks is at the heart of our observance of the Lord’s Supper. This word comes from a verb, χαριζομαι [charizomai], which means “to graciously forgive” or “to freely give”. That’s pretty appropriate for the Lord’s Supper as well.
...and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you.”
“For you” — Those are two of the most important words in the passage. Before we can really celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we’ve got to let this truth grip our hearts — Jesus died for me. He died for us because we couldn’t pay the price ourselves. He died for us because our sins had to be judged and punished. He died for us because we don’t deserve heaven; we deserve only hell.

Today, sometime, why not stop and thank God for this truth? Thank the Father that He gave His only begotten Son for you. Thank Jesus for dying on the cross for you.

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”
As we discussed, covenants in the Bible are important for a number of reasons. First, they give us the terms or conditions that must be met in order to have a personal relationship with God. Second, they tell us what promises God has made to us. Third, they tell us what God expects from us.

Nelson defines a covenant is “a solemn agreement made by God with His people, with the aim of securing a lasting relationship between them.”  The “new covenant” states that the only way we can have a personal relationship with Jesus is through His blood — that is, by accepting His payment for our sins by His death on the cross for us. As we look back to the cross, there is so much for us to be thankful about.

This is also a Time to Look Ahead.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
“Until He comes” — The Lord’s Supper is not only a time to give thanks for Jesus’ death on the cross but also to look forward with hope for His return. The NASV says “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup...” — The ESV translation of this verse begins, “For as often as...”.

We are told how to celebrate the Lord’s Supper but we’re not told how often. The frequency of observance of the Lord’s Supper is a matter of debate by Christians and churches. There is no specific command in Scripture. Some churches choose to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every time they meet or every Sunday. Others, like Hoffmantown, celebrate it periodically as a special event. There are good arguments for either or other options. Since this is not a condition of salvation, it is not worth creating divisions about.

Jesus’ Second Coming is one of the major themes of the New Testament:

One writer asks:

Do we focus enough on Jesus' return? Do we talk enough about it? Consider this: "Of the 216 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the [Christ's] Second Coming, or one out of every 30 verses. 23 of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. Three of the four books that do not refer to it are single chapter letters written to individuals on a particular subject. The 4th is the book of Galatians.... For every Biblical prophecy on the First Coming of Christ there are eight concerning His Second Coming...."
What are some things we have to look forward to?

Billy Graham said:

“In the midst of the pessimism, gloom and frustration of this present house, there is one bright beacon light of hope, and that is the promise of Jesus Christ : ‘If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again!’”
Here again is a great source of thanksgiving. We should be thankful that we have the hope of Jesus’ return. We should be thankful that He has promised to prepare and place for us and then to return for us. Jesus said, in John:
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. —John 14:1-3
It is also a time to look inward.
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
The last part of this section of First Corinthians encourages us to make sure that we have a right heart when we share in the Lord’s Supper.
For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
What attitudes would cause us to be participating in the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner”? Warren Wiersbe wisely points out that we’re not told that we have to be worthy but that we have to participate in a worthy manner. That’s an important distinction. The fact is we are unworthy of all that Jesus did for us. But through Christ’s death, we are made worthy by His grace and work.

This is something else to be thankful for — we don’t have to be “good enough” to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In fact, the Lord’s Supper reminds us that we aren’t good enough and never can be — that’s why Jesus died for us.

What purposes do we see in the Lord’s Supper?

__________

Next week — we will continue with how Jesus prepared the Disciples.