THE LORD'S SUPPER (The Fourth Cup & Lamb of God)
So we’re going to enter into the Upper Room to what began as a traditional Passover meal. Jesus is going to begin this Passover meal like the Jewish people did for the preceding 1300 years. They were expected to drink the four cups of wine, and eat the symbolic foods, and they would all participate by Jewish law in this Passover meal. But we’re going to learn that this Passover meal is different.
In Matthew, it states, “While they were eating,” (Matthew 26:26) Timeout. Let’s look at this, “While they were eating…,” Now we know it’s important to realize that the people who wrote this were Jewish, and the people who were reading this were Jewish. And they all know what a Passover meal is. So, it begins, “While they were eating.” Now we know that they’ve already had the festival blessing, because they don’t eat in the first part of the meal. They’ve already told the narrative story and sang the little hallel, because that’s the second part of the Passover meal. They haven’t yet drunk from the third cup of wine, because that doesn’t happen until after the third part of the meal. So we know based on the structure of the Passover that we have in our handout, that we must be between the second and the third cup of the Jewish Passover meal. Now all Jews know this. We don’t know this because we’re Gentiles and we live 2000 years later. This doesn’t cross our path until we study it.
Matthew records, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26:26) Now, He told them He was going to give them His body. "Take and eat; this is my body.” Circle “this is my body.” “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant.” Circle “this is my blood.” “For this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many…” (Matthew 26:27-28) Now it says, “Will be shed,” Ok, we’re talking future; this is a future event, “Which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on…” Now listen to this, it says, “He took a cup.” They’ve had the first two cups. He takes a cup and says drink from it all of you, this is My blood. What cup of the Passover meal are they drinking out of? The third cup. We know it’s the third cup, because we just learned the structure of a Passover meal. They drink the third cup and He tells them something that’s totally off the wall. He tells them, “I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine…” meaning the fourth cup, “…until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” ”Then, after singing a hymn,” which is the great hallel, “they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:29-30) We know that the hymn is the Great Hallel.
Now there’s something wrong here. We don’t recognize this because we’re Gentiles. Jews know what just happened. Jesus didn’t close the meal. He did not drink from the fourth cup. The Passover meal is not finished. This would be like a Catholic priest skipping over a major part of the Mass. Have you ever been to a Mass where a priest doesn’t offer a final blessing? It would be the same thing during a Catholic Mass, if after Communion the priest were to say before we close this Mass, and before I give you a final blessing, let’s all walk over to the gym. They have a special St. Josephs’ altar. We’re going to bless it and close Mass over there. And the congregation would all get up and proceed to walk over to the gym. As they are walking, is Mass still going on? Yeah. Mass only ends when the priest gives the final blessing, otherwise Mass is still going on. So this Passover meal is not over. Jesus will soon drink from this fourth cup but not right now. I’ll show you later when and where He drinks the cup and how He closes this Passover meal. Now notice the text, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it…" (Matthew 26:26). Wow! Look at that! He took, He blessed, He broke, and gave. Mathew is saying that Jesus handled the bread the same way that He did when He fed the 5000, and when He fed 4000, and now He handles the bread in the Upper Room the same way.
Mark records the event in a similar way, “While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:22-26) Notice Mark records: “took,” blessing,” “broke,” and “gave”
Let’s look at Luke. Luke records, “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you (that) from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." (Luke 22:17-18) When is He going to drink it? He’s waiting to drink it in the kingdom of God. We will see that kingdom begin in a few minutes.
All three synoptic gospels record: He took, He blessed, He broke and He gave. Then they sang a hymn and they went out to the Mount of Olives. They immediately went out to the Mount of Olives. This is not several pages later in the Bible; this is not days later. They immediately- that night- walked out to the Mount of Olives. They go to a garden. Why do they go to a garden? Because the fall of mankind began in a garden. Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane for the redemption of mankind to begin.
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