THE LORD'S SUPPER
Key Verses: 26:26b-28
"`Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took the cup, gave
thanks and offered it to them, saying, `Drink from it, all of you.
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many
for the forgiveness of sins.'"
1. Read verses 1-5. What did Jesus tell his disciples? What is
significant about his being crucified at Passover time? (Jn 1:29)
What was the plan of the religious leaders?
2. Read verses 6-13. What happened in Bethany? Why might Jesus have
been embarrassed? How did the disciples react? (8,9; Jn 12:4-6) How
was Jesus' view different from theirs? What meaning did he see in
her actions? Why?
3. Read verses 14-16. What did Judas do? What do his actions reveal
about his attitude toward Jesus and Jesus' teachings? Toward God?
4. Read verses 17-25. What did the Passover mean in the life of God's
people? (Ex 12:11-13, 17; Lk 1:72-75) Why did Jesus want to eat it
with his disciples? How did they prepare? How did Jesus show his
love for Judas and all of them?
5. Read verses 26-30. Why must the disciples and all believers take and
eat the bread Jesus gives? (Jn 6:35) What is the covenant? What is
the meaning of Jesus' death? (Jn 1:29; 1 Pe 1:18,19) What did Jesus
6. Read verses 31-35. How did Jesus prepare Peter and the disciples for
what was to come? What was his promise? What is admirable about
Peter? What would be the result of his not accepting Jesus' words?
Up to the present point, Jesus had healed the sick, preached the
kingdom of heaven and trained his disciples. All of Jesus' earthly
messianic ministry, even one of his footprints or one of his words, is
beautiful forever (1). Now, the Passover was near, and Jesus was ready
to become the Paschal Lamb for the sin of the world (2), while the
religious leaders were ready to kill Jesus (3-5). In this situation, if
he had been an ordinary man, he could not have been mindful of anyone.
But Jesus accepted one woman's pouring perfume on him and honored it as
the anointing for his burial. In this passage Jesus especially teaches
the meaning of the Lord's Supper.
First, a woman of heart (6-13). Look at verses 6,7. "While Jesus was in
Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to
him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured
on his head as he was reclining at the table." Matthew and Mark mention
that the host was Simon the Leper. In Luke, he is Simon the Pharisee.
It remains as a most interesting question whether he was a real leper
or whether his character was leper-like. Anyway, Matthew calls him
"Simon the Leper." Matthew does not tell us who the woman was. But John
seems to inform us that this woman was none other than Mary, the sister
of Martha and Lazarus. In Luke's story, the woman was a notorious
This woman came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive
perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
As we know well, Pharisees were manneristic and hypocritical. This
strange woman came to Jesus disrupting their dinner mood. What's more,
she began to pour perfume on Jesus' head, as a prophet would anoint a
king. What an embarrassing moment for Jesus!
What was his disciples' response? Look at verses 8,9. "When the
disciples saw this, they were indignant. 'Why this waste?' they asked.
'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given
to the poor.'" To the disciples' common sense, the woman was so
wasteful that they were angry at her. They said, "What a waste!" The
more they calculated the cost of the perfume, the more upset they
became. They said, "This money could have been used for the poor," and
so on. But their real motive in saying this came from their pragmatism.
According to John, the one who said this was Judas Iscariot, and he was
a thief (Jn 12:4-6).
What did Jesus say to them? Look at verses 10,11. "Aware of this,
Jesus said to them, 'Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a
beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you
will not always have me.'" Here Jesus is saying that there are some
things which they can do at any time, but there are some things which
can be done only once. The disciples were anxious to help the poor, but
they could do that anytime. Pouring perfume on Jesus' head or giving
one's heart to him could be done only once. This the woman did.
Look at verse 12. "When she poured this perfume on my body, she
did it to prepare me for burial." Jesus regarded her pouring perfume on
him as an act of love. Jesus credited her pouring perfume as the
anointing for his burial. Jesus also said that it is an event to be
remembered forever in world salvation history. Verse 13 reads, "I tell
you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
Why did Jesus regard her so highly? It was because she was a woman
of heart. Jesus sees the heart. As we know well, the woman was known as
a public sinner, along with the tax collectors. According to Mark 14:5,
her perfume was worth a year's wages. She must have worked hard in
various places to save this amount of money. They say that to Jewish
women, perfume was essential in preparing for marriage. So this perfume
must have been for her own marriage. But this woman took the most
precious thing she had and gave it to Jesus. In reality, she gave her
heart of love to Jesus. It was because Jesus loved her first. How did
Jesus love her first? It was through his grace of forgiveness of sins.
Luke 7:47a says, "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been
forgiven--for she loved much." In the past, she lived under the power
of sin. But since she met Jesus, she experienced the grace of God in
heaven, the grace of forgiveness of sins. She accepted this grace in
her heart and was thankful.
Second, a smart man, Judas Iscariot (14-16). Then one of the
Twelve--the one called Judas Iscariot--went to the chief priests and
asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?"
After receiving thirty silver coins, Judas watched for an opportunity
to hand him over. Judas Iscariot was a most trusted one because he was
the treasurer of Jesus' company. But he betrayed Jesus.
We should not make a hasty conclusion about Judas' betrayal. Judas
Iscariot knew that Jesus had divine power, but according to his own
premonition, Jesus looked helpless. Then suddenly, the world looked too
dark. He was overwhelmed by fear. When he was caught by fear, he was
beside himself. Then the devil came into his heart through his
groundless fear. He began to be driven by the power of the devil. In
his helplessness, he was looking for a way to get out of the situation.
So he went to the religious leaders and made a dreadful deal. His
problem was that he had no God in him. Jesus had revealed to him
personally that he was the Son of God. Jesus had taught him the hope of
the kingdom of God and the secrets of the kingdom of God. But Judas
never accepted Jesus' teachings from his heart. He remained as a smart
and godless man. It was a crucial moment of making a decision for his
life. But he was helpless to do anything. A godless life is not a small
Third, Jesus appeals to Judas to repent (17-25). Look at verse 17. "On
the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to
Jesus and asked, 'Where do you want us to make preparations for you to
eat the Passover?'" This verse plainly tells us that the disciples
celebrated the Passover regularly. The Passover was the greatest day
for the Israelites. During their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, the
Israelites ate the bread of adversity and drank the water of
affliction. But God remembered his covenant with Abraham and decided to
deliver them. In order to deliver his people from Pharaoh, the king of
Egypt, God inflicted ten plagues on the Egyptians. The last one was the
plague of death on all the firstborn, both men and animals. At that
time, the Israelites were to take some of the blood of the lamb and put
it on the doorposts of their houses, so that the blood would be a sign
for the angel of death to pass over them when he struck Egypt. They
slaughtered young lambs and put the blood of the lamb on their
doorposts. When they obeyed, the angel of death passed over them. In
this way, they were delivered from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. In this
way, God enabled them to serve him without fear, in holiness and
righteousness (Lk 1:74,75). This is the meaning of the Passover.
Jesus wanted to celebrate the Passover with his disciples and said
in verse 18, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The
Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the
Passover with my disciples at your house.'" The disciples could prepare
the Passover meal when they did as Jesus had instructed them (18,19).
At the table with the Twelve, while they were eating, Jesus said,
"I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me" (21). It is quite
unbelievable that there would be a betrayer among the apostolic band.
Even if there was, it was terribly hard for Jesus to talk about
betrayal at the Passover meal. Yet Jesus could not but say this so that
he might lead Judas to repentance. Jesus could have used his power to
make him utterly powerless to do anything. But Jesus did not do so. He
made a most painful appeal out of his divine love. At this, the
disciples were very sad and began to say to him one by one, "Surely not
Look at verse 23. "Jesus replied, 'The one who has dipped his hand
into the bowl with me will betray me.'" The Last Supper was a picture
of the heavenly banquet (Rev 3:20). Jesus did not exclude Judas from
the love feast. Jesus included him in the Last Supper, though he knew
what Judas was going to do secretly. Jesus made an appeal to him by
sharing the Last Supper with him. It was to lead him to repentance.
Look at verse 24. "The Son of Man will go just as it is written
about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be
better for him if he had not been born." This verse teaches us a most
significant spiritual lesson. When God made man, God gave man the
absolute freedom of choice. In any case, God does not coerce; God only
appeals. On the other hand, man has an absolute responsibility for his
own choice. If a man chooses to serve God, he has to decide to do so.
Jesus is God. So he gave Judas the chance to make a choice. But
Judas, who was poisoned by the devil, made a wrong choice. Even though
he made a wrong decision, he tried to mask himself and cheated his
conscience, saying, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" But Jesus said, "Yes, it is
you." Many people pretend that they have made no choice at all; but it
is self-deception. Each person has made a choice, whether he
acknowledges it or not.
Fourth, the blood of the covenant (26-30). Look at verse 26. "While
they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave
it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.'" The
bread of the Passover was to remind the Jews of the bread of the
affliction and anguish of Egypt. The bread was to remind them of the
unleavened bread they ate the very night they made the exodus. When
Jesus said, "Take and eat; this is my body," he was relating the
unleavened bread to himself. Those who do not eat the bread that Jesus
gives cannot experience personal salvation. There are many who live a
life of bitter complaint. They are spiritually hungry people. They are
all those who have not experienced personal salvation. They must come
to Jesus to eat the bread that Jesus gives. The bread that Jesus gives
satisfies men's souls. John 6:35 says, "I am the bread of life. He who
comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never
be thirsty." Jesus satisfies our souls and helps us experience personal
Look at verses 27,28. "Then he took the cup, gave thanks and
offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my
blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness
of sins.'" In the Old Testament, the blood of the lamb for the
forgiveness of sins was nothing but a ritual. But it was an exact
picture of the Lamb of God. Before shedding his blood, Jesus told them
of his blood of the covenant. Whoever believes the efficacy of the
blood of Jesus receives the grace of forgiveness of sins. Those who do
not receive the grace of forgiveness of sins through his blood of the
covenant remain as unforgiven sinners. They live in fear and weariness,
like the Israelites in the slavery of Egypt. In order to give us the
grace of forgiveness of sins, Jesus became the Lamb of God. John the
Baptist cried out in John 1:29, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away
the sin of the world!" Jesus is the Lamb of God. Praise Jesus!
There are many people who are most afraid of being changed from
their sinful way of life, assuming that they will lose the pleasures of
sins. They are spiritually very sick people. Only the blood of Jesus
changes a person's inner man. Peter was a man who was hard to be
changed. But he was changed by the blood of Jesus and said in 1 Peter
1:18,19, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as
silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed
down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of
Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." Those who believe in his
blood of the covenant inherit the kingdom of heaven, and there they
will enjoy the heavenly feast (29). At this moment, let's accept his
blood of the covenant in our hearts.
Fifth, the disciples will scatter (31). In this part Jesus predicts the
top disciple Peter's denial. It is unbelievable that at the time of
Jesus' suffering, the top disciple Peter would deny him. But Jesus said
in verse 31, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me,
for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the
flock will be scattered.'" Jesus recognized their human loyalty for
him, but he teaches them that human loyalty has great limitation. Why
did Jesus predict Peter's denial? Jesus said this because it was to
fulfill the Scripture: "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be
scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones" (Zech
13:7b). The disciples were like a flock of sheep to Jesus. When the
sheep lose their shepherd, they all scatter before brutal animals. This
hardship would come upon his disciples. But Jesus said this so that
they might prepare their hearts to confront hardships to come.
Sixth, Jesus promises his resurrection (32). Look at verse 32. "But
after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." In this verse
Jesus predicts his glorious resurrection. Jesus gives them a glorious
promise that he would rise again from the dead. Jesus gives a glorious
promise that he would defeat the power of death and rise again. Jesus
gives a glorious promise that he would destroy the gates of Hades and
open the gates of the kingdom of God through his resurrection.
What was the disciples' response? The top disciple Peter replied,
"Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will" (33). His human
loyalty to Jesus was admirable, but Peter did not accept what Jesus
said to him about his atoning death and glorious resurrection. As a
result, Peter despaired. Even though he spoke boldly, he was captured
by fear. To this Peter Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this very
night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times" (34).
But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never
disown you." And all the other disciples said the same (35).
In this passage, we learn that we must remember every day and
every year God's grace of deliverance, as the Israelites commemorated
the Passover annually. We also learn that we can be changed into new
persons by his Son's blood.