September 15

Text: Matthew 26:17-19

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?"  And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."'"  And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.  (NASB)

The entire religious festival called Passover in Jesusí time included the actual Passover day plus the 7 following days in which the Jews ate unleavened bread.  You can read the instructions for the first observance of these 8 days in Exodus 12 and 13.  Passover and the week following commemorated the Lordís keeping His promises to rescue Israelites and to give them their own country.  The event was to be remembered by all future generations of Israelites.  It was to be an annual memorial occasion to celebrate what God did.  The blood was the original protection, and the unleavened bread was a reminder of the haste of departure.

In some ways the Christiansí observance of the Lordís Supper parallels the Passover observance.  Both commemorate what God did.  Both involve a sacrifice made.  Both involve blood as a means of rescue. Both involve bread.  Both are to be continuing memorials.  Both are to specific groups.

The principle use of this passage is to emphasize the need to harmonize the synoptic gospelsí (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) use of the meal as a Passover observance, and Johnís observation that Jesusí death happened prior to Passover (John 18:28; 19:14, 31).  Many suggestions have been made, but none has been verified with convincing evidence.

Jesusí instructions about preparing for the meal remind us of his instructions before his triumphal entry (Matthew 21:2, 3).  Jesus, by instruction, arranged for the place.  The disciples prepared the meal.

With the questions we might have, do not fail to see the obvious.  Just as God wanted His deliverance of the Israelites to be remembered, He wants his deliverance of Christians to be remembered.  God is the God of deliverance.

Suggestion for reflection:  God keeps His promises, but not by our timetable.  (Read Genesis 12:1-5.  Did Abraham physically see all those promises kept?)

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