Of all the apostles to have written of this great Table, the one who was not present at the last Supper wrote the clearest and most about the introduction! As the apostle Paul was the apostle from whom Luke received the message, Paul tells us things not mentioned in either of the other Old Testament epistles. Christ was crucified on the evening of the Passover.
The year seems to be settled as A> U.C. 783, A. D. 30, he sixteenth year of the Emperor Tiberius. In this year, astronomers tells us, the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday; and as for typical instruction at least, we should expect that Christ would die at the hour when the paschal lamb was slain, we at once see the fitness of this date and day, if they can be safely maintained. It is incredible that the events immediately preceding and accompanying the execution of Christ should have occurred on the actual feast day; it is also incredible that, as some suppose, the Pharisees altered the legal day in order that they might be free to accomplish their wicked design. Christ died the hour the lambs were legally slain. John 13:1;29;18:28; 19:14; 19:31.
The apostles were with Him when, in the “large upper room,” the twelve sat down, or rather reclined on the couches covered with carpets, the tables before them laid with the dishes peculiar to the solemn Passover Supper, each dish telling a peculiar story of the great deliverance from Egypt. There was the lamb the Paschal victim, and the bitter herbs, the unleavened bread and the reddish sweet conserve of fruits—commemorating, it is said, by its color the hard labors of brickmaking, one of the chief burdens of the Egyptian bondage—into which the Master dipped the sop, gave it to the traitor, John 13:26, as the Lord began to transform this into the new supper He would introduce as they proceeded in such a way as to change it into the sacred Supper of the New Testament. ”With desire” is a strange and peculiar expression evidently a reproduction of the original Hebrew. It described an intense longing to keep this last Passover, first, as a dear Friend who would make this the solemn last farewell. Do we not all, when we feel the end coming, long for a last communion with our dearest friends? Secondly, the Master would gather His deepest teaching from this last meal. Next, as the founder of a great religion, He purposed, on this momentous occasion, to transform the most solemn festal gathering of the ancient Jewish people, which commemorated their greatest deliverance, into a feast which should commemorate a far greater deliverance, not of the old chosen race, but of the new race which would be born from heaven. It had to be introduced early for on the morrow, when the people eat their Passover, it will be too late for us, before I suffer.” There was yet another reason for His deliberate actions on this night. For so many centuries the central act of the ritual observance under Moses would be superseded by a new and yet more solemn religious exercise. He was announcing the end of the old supper and the beginning of another and far more spiritual banquet in the heavenly realm, which not only the Redeemer, but also His redeemed will partake. He promised NOT to partake UNTIL He would partake it again with them IN THE FATHER’S KINGDOM. A promise which He has not fulfilled IF the Kingdom has NOT come into existence as pre-millennialist teach.
This partaking is the solemn declaration publicly made by the communicant as a deliberate wish that those who see and know of our partaking, believe that King Jesus lived, died, and rose again. It is a fervent expression of belief that strength will be surely given him, “that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith,” Galatians 3:26, asserting that a blessing too great for us to measure by earthly language, too deep to fathom with human inquiry, and too rich, unless measured by life, is the benediction of Christ work on this earth. To serve this Supper and envelop it in a shroud of mist and cloud, thereby diming it, as with a veil, that we might not see its glory, will keep us from this simple rite, more awful in its grandeur, more Divine and far-reaching in its promises to the faithful believer, and more strengthening than language can describe; is a crime denominationalism has faithfully delivered and preached. This, the traitor Judas Iscariot was not privileged to remain as a spectator.
“For I have appointed you a kingdom,” to appoint was to dispose by will, make a covenant by entering into a covenant with those to whom one is speaking, for the Passover draws nigh that all Jews partook and the disciples of Christ were the only ones who had already partaken, ready to suffer.