When the hour had come, Jesus sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:14–20)

Passover was a memorial service, a way for the Israelites to remember what God had done for them when he had rescued them from Egyptian slavery. The sacrificial system with all its rituals and its slaughter of animals served a similar purpose: it was a picture, a parable of what God would do through the final sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The sacrifice of bulls and goats in the old covenant of ancient Israel never took away sins (Hebrews 10:3-4). It was simply a regular reminder of their sins and the fact that God was forgiving them.

The breaking of bread and the drinking of the wine of the Lord’s Supper now serves a similar purpose: it is a memorial service, a way of remembering what Jesus did on the cross. It is a picture for us. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper does not take away sins: instead, it reminds us that our sins have already been taken away thanks the great price that was paid by Jesus on Calvary. It was and is only Jesus’ death on a Roman cross that takes away our sins. We remember that wonderful reality every time we share the bread and the fruit of the vine. As often as we do it, we proclaim to all those with us the amazing love of Jesus.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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