Monday, August 16, 2021

2021.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 22:8–20

Read Luke 22:8–20

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the Lord Jesus send to do what in Luke 22:8? What do they ask (Luke 22:9)? How does Jesus identify the house in Luke 22:10? What are they to say, to whom, there (Luke 22:11)? What will the man do (Luke 22:12)? How do things turn out (Luke 22:13)? What do Peter and John do? What has come in Luke 22:14? Who do what? What does Jesus say He has desired to do (Luke 22:15)? Before what? What does the word “this” indicate? What will He no longer do (Luke 22:16)? Until what? What does He take in Luke 22:17? Then what does He do? And, then, what does He tell them to do? Why (Luke 22:18)? What won’t He do until when? What does He take in Luke 22:19? Then what does He do? And, then, what does He do to it? To whom does He give it? What does He say to them? When does Luke 22:20 take place? What does He take? What does it have in it at this point (cf. Luke 22:17)? What does He call the cup?

How much our Lord wishes to have fellowship with us, to provide for us, and to secure us! This is the emphasis in Luke’s account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Of all of the evangelists, Luke is the one whom the Holy Spirit carries along to tell us that “He said to them, with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). 

The fervent desire of Christ conditions how we read the Lukan account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This also helps us understand the reasoning for the mysterious directions in Luke 22:10-12. Yes, the Spirit could have mediated unto Christ divine knowledge, but in the context, it is clear that Judas is already looking for a private moment in which to betray Christ (cf. Luke 21:38, Luke 22:2, Luke 22:6). If Judas knew beforehand where this would be, the arrest might interrupt the meal. But Jesus is eager to enjoy the meal for the following reasons…

Our Lord fervently desired this final fellowship with His disciples. John will tell us that “having loved His own, He loved them to the end” (cf. John 13:1), but of the others, only Luke records Jesus saying “that we” may eat (Luke 22:8). This highlights to us the “with you” in Luke 22:15. He then explains that He will no longer eat of it until its fulfillment. The administration of Moses is coming to an end; His death (“suffer” in verse 15) will bring in “the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16Luke 22:18). 

Jesus is a true Man, assigned by providence to a specific group of friends who have become His family. In a couple hours’ time His agonized praying in the garden will display some of the strongest emotions that we see in Him in the gospels. And we see Him here desiring to love His own, and even to draw that right and natural strength that God gives us by fellowship with others. His suffering is before Him, and He wishes to go to it with freshly renewed love for those for whom He is dying. We will hear in His prayer later on, that this includes all true believers from all subsequent ages (cf. John 17:20). 

Our Lord also fervently desired to make provision for us. By this time, the Jews had added many traditions to the Scriptural meal to make what is known as the seder. But what they had done without divine warrant, the Lord Jesus had liberty and authority to do. One of the things that had been added was that, at every part of the meal, the head of the household would describe the significance of what was about to be taken. So, it is not surprising that Jesus gives a meaning to the two parts of the meal that we have in our passage.

When instead of saying “this is the unleavened bread that was eaten on the night of the Passover,” He says “this is My body which is given for you,” the disciples understand what He is saying and doing. They do not perhaps yet understand what is coming before they have another supper, but they no more think that the bread has been changed to Jesus’s flesh than they would otherwise have thought that somehow the bread from the night of the Exodus had been transported through time. 

The Lord Jesus twice denies Himself to give. Ordinarily in the seder, each would have their own cup, and at four different times during the meal, the head of the table would direct them to drink. But even after expressing His fervent desire for the meal, He denies Himself the contents of His cup in order that the disciples can have it instead (Luke 22:17). In Luke 22:19, He denies Himself the benefits of His own body so that His disciples instead could have that benefit (verse 19). And in Luke 22:20, though the covenant is in His blood, the blessings that His blood secures are for them. Our Lord gives all that He is for all that His disciples need.

Indeed, even though in Him we have all, we are often forgetful of Him and of the fact that He is our all. So the command to come to the table is itself part of His provision. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” There are many things that the Scripture teaches that must be proclaimed in preaching, and in the midst of them, we may become forgetful that Christ Himself is the provision for all that need. But He accommodates our weakness in the supper as He distributes Himself to our faith and commands us that the distribution of the bread would be in remembrance that He gives Himself both for us and to us.

Finally, our Lord fervently desired to secure all the covenant blessings for us. Matthew and Mark refer to the cup as Jesus’s blood of the new covenant, but Luke here refers to the covenant as “the new covenant in My blood.” 

That is to say that all of the blessings of Jeremiah 31 are being secured by this blood: its unbreakable character (cf. Jeremiah 31:32, Jeremiah 31:35–37), the new nature given to their minds and hearts (cf. Jeremiah 31:33), the personal knowledge that each will have of Yahweh Himself (cf. Jeremiah 31:34a), and especially the removal of the iniquity and sin that would otherwise make such relational knowledge impossible (cf. verse 34b).

Now in Luke 22:20 of our passage, Luke tells us that all of these blessings of the new covenant are blessings that belong to a covenant that is in Jesus’s blood. He personally gives up His own life, and suffers the wrath of God due to our sin, so that we may enjoy all of these other blessings!

Why did the Lord so fervently desire to eat this meal that He resorted to subterfuge in how it was set up? Because He was eager for fellowship with us, eager to give Himself to us, and eager to secure for us (and assure us of) all of the blessings of the new covenant. AND, as we now know, especially to establish this meal for all of those reasons for us who partake together Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, some two thousand years later. 

What does the Lord Jesus fervently desire for you, week by week, if you are a believer? If you are not, what ought you expect for yourself instead? How should your desires at His table match His? What sort of preparation, partaking, and reflection would such desire produce? 

Sample prayer: Our Lord Jesus, we praise You Who are very God of very God, for You have redeemed us by Your blood and gained every blessing of the New Covenant for us. Forgive us for how cold-heartedly we have come to Your table, when You have so warm-heartedly urged us unto it. And, grant that our experience of You at Your table would be according to all of Your holy and merciful desires, which we ask by the merits of Your own shed blood, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH196 “At the Lamb’s High Feast”

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