THE BLOOD COVENANT
Key Verse: 22:20
"In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying,
`This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured
out for you.'"
1. What did the Passover celebration commemorate? (Ex 13:8-10; Dt
6:20-25) What were the religious leaders doing? What did Judas do?
(1-6) According to Luke, why did he do this? How did Judas show
himself to be an opportunist? What is an opportunist?
2. Who prepared the Passover for Jesus and the disciples? How did these
disciples exemplify faith, obedience and humility? (7-13) Why did
Jesus eagerly want to eat the Passover with his disciples? (14-23)
When would he eat it with them again? (Rev 19:9)
3. How is Jesus like the Passover lamb? (Ex 12:12-13; Isa 53:7; Jn
1:29) Read verses 17-19. What does the broken bread mean? (Jn 6:35;
2Pe 1:4b) Read verse 20. What is the meaning of the cup? (Lev 17:11;
Heb 9:14,22; Mk 10:45) What is the blood covenant?
4. What sad and shocking prophecy did Jesus make? (21-23) What blinded
Judas to Jesus' love? What did the disciples dispute about? Why?
What did Jesus teach them about human greatness and true greatness?
What was Jesus' example? (24-27)
5. Read verses 23-38. What did Jesus promise those who learn his
serving life? What was Peter's spiritual condition? How did Jesus
help him? (31-37; Isa 53:12) Why didn't they understand? What does
the Last Supper teach about the power of Jesus' blood?
Before the crucifixion, Jesus ate the Passover in a large upper
room. We call this event "The Last Supper." Through the Last Supper
Jesus taught his disciples the meaning of the new covenant of blood.
May God somehow teach us to know the spiritual meaning of the new
covenant of blood.
First, Judas, an opportunist (1-6).
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was
approaching. The chief priests and teachers of the law were supposed to
teach their people and children the meaning of the Passover, as Moses
had commanded. (Ex 13:10; Dt 6:20-25) But they were carried away by
their conspiracy to get rid of Jesus, completely ignoring their
spiritual duties. (1,2) In ancient times, as was customary, followers
of a teacher loved their teacher more than themselves. It is totally
unbelievable that Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, betrayed Jesus.
Both Luke and John saw Judas' betrayal quite simply. They said, "Satan
entered into Judas." (Lk 22:3; Jn 13:27) Here we learn that anyone
captivated by Satan becomes as evil as the devil. Judas went to the
chief priests and officers of the temple guard and discussed with them
how he might betray Jesus. They made a deal. Since then, Judas watched
for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was
present. (4-6) Verse 6 says, "...and watched for an opportunity." This
phrase well describes Judas' character. He was an opportunist. In his-
tory, opportunists have thought they were smart. But mostly their lives
ended up tragically. Judas Iscariot was so tragic that he could not
but commit suicide by hanging himself on a tree. Judas should have
committed himself to Jesus. But it was too late. Here we learn that
uncom- mitted people are all opportunists.
Second, the new covenant of blood (7-23).
Now it was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on which
the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed (7). Look at verse 8. Jesus sent
Peter and John, saying, "Go and make pre- parations for us to eat the
Passover." It was customary for them to eat the Passover. But they
could not afford a room in which to do so. So they asked Jesus, "Where
do you want us to prepare the Passover?"
Look at verses 10-12. "He replied, 'As you enter the city, a man
carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he
enters, and say to the owner of the house, "The Teacher asks: Where is
the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" He
will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations
there.'" It was not unusual for the disciples to hear this sort of
command from Jesus. When Jesus had to make the triumphal entry into
Jerusalem, he told two of his disciples to go out and untie a colt that
belonged to someone else and bring it to him. They did exactly as they
were told to do. (19:29-34) This time was the same: As soon as the
disciples were told to find a room, they said, "Yes, sir, aye aye,
sir!" and left. They were Peter and John. Their obedience was indeed
remarkable, for the city of Jerusalem, as well as its satellite towns,
was packed with pilgrims, with no room left. They were ordinary men,
but they were extraordinary men because of their obedience. They left
and began to look for a room, and found it just as Jesus had told
them. They say that this was Mark's house. Peter had such an attitude
from the beginning. One day, early in the morning, Jesus said to Peter,
"Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Peter
said, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.
But because you say so, I will let down the nets."(Lk5:4,5) Despite his
abruptness, it was his humbleness that made it possible for him to grow
in Jesus as the greatest man who ever lived.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. He
said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you
before I suffer." (15) It seems that Jesus wanted to eat a big Passover
with his disciples just once. But it was not so. What Jesus really
wanted was to teach them the true meaning of the Paschal lamb at the
The Passover had historical meaning. (Ex 12) It commemorated the
deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. The life of
the Israelites in Egypt was misery itself. Just to eat three meals a
day, they had to undergo forced labor day after day. They worked hard
and did not eat enough. So their skin clung to their bones. Their
drained bodies were full of marks of whipping. Their lives in Egypt
were an exact picture of slavery to Satan, and a description of hell.
God had mercy on his people and decided to deliver them. But
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, did not let the Israelites go. God sent plagues
on Egypt, one after another. As each plague came, Pharaoh promised to
let the people go. But when the plague abated, he changed his mind. The
plagues were repeated nine times. Finally God gave Pharaoh a choice:
either let the people go, or see God strike down all the firstborn of
all kinds in Egypt. (Ex 12:29) Pharaoh did not listen to God's words
through Moses. In this way, he invited the plague of death. No
firstborn was exempt, not even the firstborn of Pharaoh the king.
Pharaoh was a symbol of the power of sin. In the meantime, the
Israelites were to slay a lamb. With a bunch of hyssop they were to
smear the lintels of their doorposts with the blood of the lamb, and
when the angel of death saw the doorposts marked with the blood of the
lamb, he passed over that house. We call this the Passover. In this way
God saved the Israelites from the death plague. In this way God made
the Exodus possible for the Israelites.
Therefore, to eat the Passover was to remember God's grace of
deliverance from the yoke of slavery in Egypt. In order to eat the
Passover they had to slay a defectless, one-year-old male lamb and
sprinkle its blood on their doorposts to remember their deliverance.
They also roasted the meat of the lamb and ate it. They dried the bones
to be used as firewood. They dried the skin and used it as paper. The
Paschal lamb was completely sacrificed. The complete sacrifice of the
Passover lamb symbolizes the complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 16. "For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it
finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." Verse 16 implies that Jesus
himself is the Paschal Lamb at this Passover. In John 1:29, John the
Baptist said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
world!" Isaiah also prophesied concerning the Paschal Lamb. Isaiah 53:7
says, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her
shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth."
Now, it was the Last Supper with his disciples before he would
suffer. Jesus would eat no more Passover meals until the coming of the
kingdom. Finally, their fellowship will be consummated in the great
Messianic "Wedding Supper" to come. Revelation 19:9 says, "Then the
angel said to me, 'Write: "Blessed are those who are invited to the
wedding supper of the Lamb!"' And he added, 'These are the true words
Look at verse 19. "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and
gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in
remembrance of me.'" The Israelites satisfied their stomachs by eating
the meat of lambs. Likewise, men can really satisfy themselves when
they take the body of Jesus. Otherwise, human life is too tiring. One
young man said, "I am tired of the cross of mission." But he was not
tired because of the cross of mission. He was tired because of his life
of sin influenced by the corruption in the world caused by evil
desires. (2 Pe 1:4b) People are tired because of their sins. They are
thirsty because of spiritual dehydration. But when we participate in
the divine nature, we are greatly satisfied, for Jesus is the living
water welling up to eternal life. (Jn 4:13,14) As John 6:35 says, Jesus
is "the bread of life." When we eat the bread of life, we can be
Look at verse 20b. "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which
is poured out for you." Jesus came to the world to die on the cross to
shed his blood for many as a ransom sacrifice. (Mk 10:45) When he had
to ransom his people from their sins, Jesus had to sacrifice himself by
shedding his blood, because only his blood can satisfy the demand of
sin. Sin demands only lifeblood. (Lev 17:11; Heb 9:22) No one else's
blood could meet the demand of sin because all other people's blood is
sinstained. For example, one young man wanted to quit the life of sin
in order to restore himself in the holiness of God. But he failed,
because he did not depend on the blood of Jesus but on his own
willpower. He could not control his abnormal sinful desires, because
his sinsick blood was circulating in his soul. He went back to his old
life of sin after 6 years of conflict. No one can ransom such a person.
Only the blood of Jesus can deliver man from the power of sin. If one
goes to the hospital for treatment, his doctor first checks his blood,
because sick blood makes a person sick. Likewise, only the blood of
Jesus transfuses our sinstained blood. When we believe that the blood
of Jesus has power to heal the sinsick soul, we can be healed. We
should not despair because of our sins; we must have faith in the power
of Jesus' blood. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sinful
desires. When we are healed from our sinsickness by the blood of Jesus,
we can come to realize that God loves us until he sent his one and only
Son to the world to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Romans
5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we
were still sinners, Christ died for us." God promised to send his one
and only Son to shed his blood for our sins. We call this the blood
While they were eating the Passover, Jesus said in verse 21, "But
the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table."
He was Judas Iscariot. He was eating the Last Supper with Jesus. But he
could not realize God's love, because he was blinded by his
selfishness. Selfishness blinds us from realizing the love of God.
Selfishness causes us to come under "woes." Jesus said in verse 22,
"The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who
Third, the truly great man in the kingdom of God (24-38).
To the disciples, the Last Supper was the most precious time to
learn the meaning of the Paschal Lamb. Still they were on the level of
dog-fighting. A dispute arose among them as to which of them was
considered to be greatest. (24) What did Jesus say to them? Look at
verse 25. "Jesus said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over
them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves
Benefactors.'" Rulers of the world exercise power and authority over
people by oppressing and squeezing them. At the same time they expect
the people under them to respect and flatter them by saying, "You are
the best Benefactor, sir." But in the spiritual world, the concept of
greatness is quite opposite to that of worldly greatness. Look at verse
26. "But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you
should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who
serves." In the spiritual world, greater people are obliged to serve
the needy, humbling themselves like servants. Read verse 27. "For who
is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it
not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves."
This explains how Jesus served people in accordance with the
constitution of the kingdom of God.
Look at verse 28. "You are those who have stood by me in my trials."
In this verse, "in my trials" refers to Jesus' entire earthly ministry.
They had seen how Jesus served people as his expression of serving God.
Jesus promised his disciples that if they learned how to serve God and
serve his people as Jesus had done, they would attain power to rule in
the kingdom of God, together with Jesus, sitting on thrones, judging
the 12 tribes of Israel. Thank God for this promise! We, the children
of God, must learn how to serve others. Read verses 29,30. "And I
confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that
you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
What was Peter's spiritual condition at that moment? He did not
understand Jesus' glorious promise because he was still spiritually
harebrained. Read verses 31,32. "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift
you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not
fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Jesus
knew that he would stumble. But Jesus prayed that Peter would stand up
again and help his brothers spiritually in the future. Peter was not
happy about Jesus' words and said, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to
prison and to death." (33) Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before
the roos- ter crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
When Jesus saw that his disciples were not at all spiritual men, he
helped them prepare for the future without him. Jesus asked, "Did you
lack anything when you were with me?" (35) "Nothing," they answered.
Then Jesus said to them in verse 36, "But now if you have a purse, take
it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and
buy one." This verse does not mean that they should buy swords and
fight, but that they must prepare themselves spiritually to meet
upcoming hardships and sufferings without Jesus.
Jesus told them about what was going to happen to him. Look at verse
37. "It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I
tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about
me is reaching its fulfillment." This is a quotation from Isaiah 53:12.
This prophecy would be fulfilled in the body of Jesus. How great is the
love of God that he included his one and only Son as one of the
transgressors to save us from our sins! But his disciples did not
understand the spiritual meaning of his words. So they said, "See,
Lord, here are two swords." Here we learn that human beings are very
slow to understand spiritual things.
In this passage we learn the meaning of the Last Supper. Especially,
we learn that Jesus' blood has power in it. May God help you believe
the power in the blood of Jesus.