As we continue our walk through Holy Week, we are in the Upper Room with Jesus and His 12 disciples. It was the Last Supper when Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover meal together. It was also Jesus’ last meal on earth as a human.
The Last Supper is our Holy Communion
Every time as believers, we take communion, we honor Jesus and the sacrifice He made for humankind taking our sins away.
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 in remembrance of 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.Luke 22: 14-20
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
There’s no magic about partaking in Holy Communion or the Last Supper. It’s simply sharing bread and wine (or grape juice symbolizing wine) with fellow believers and remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made so that we could be free from sin. All believers should be able to share in the communion. There is no law in the New Testament that says that you have to confess your sins to a priest first or that you have to have been baptized first.
If you believe that Jesus died taking your sins away, then you can participate in Holy Communion. Oh, and you don’t get “grace points” if you do, just as you don’t lose grace points if you don’t.
Jesus became the Sacrificial Lamb
In stead of having to ask for forgiveness by sacrificing a lamb each time, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. That’s why Jesus had to die.
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”Matthew 26:27-29
The New Covenant
With this, the old covenant between God and Jews was replaced by this new covenant. Moreover, this covenant was just not for the Jews, but for Gentiles (non Jews), also.
But the disciples still didn’t understand and Jesus told them that they would all “fall away.”
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. (Probably Psalm 118)
On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Zechariah 13:7)
But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
“No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.Mark 14:26-31
What? Another betrayal? First Judas, then Peter? Peter, to whom Jesus said that he’d build the church upon his “rock.” Not Peter!
Here is one of the first places that we really see Jesus’ humanity.
Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”Luke 22:26-46
Knowing what was ahead of Him, Jesus still prayed, “your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested
But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.
But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”Matthew 26:47-53
John’s Eye-Witness Account is a bit Different…
After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
“I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”
Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”John 18:1-11
It’s interesting that Luke is the only one that mentions Jesus healing the soldier’s ear and John is the only one that gives the soldier’s name, Malchus. It’s not that one is wrong and the other right. It’s showing different witness viewpoints. Luke is the historian. He interviewed eye witnesses to get the story. John was there. He may have been closer to Jesus and saw Him heal the soldier’s ear. (Podcast: Who Wrote the Gospels?)
But the torture and suffering was just starting…
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!