November 16 | Luke 22:14-30
The Last Supper
by David Thompson
The passage opens with the disciples and Jesus sitting down for the Passover meal. Passover was a yearly celebration when the people of Israel remembered the time in Egypt when they were commanded by Moses to take a spotless firstborn lamb, slaughter it and paint the doorposts of their homes. Then when the final plague came and killed all of the first born in Egypt, the Israelites would be saved from the plague. Further it was a celebration of leaving Egypt. This was said to be a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ on the cross. He was a spotless, perfect sacrifice and His spilled blood saved the people who believed in Him from all of their sins.
Verses 17-20 outline the practice that we call communion. Communion is celebrated in our church every Sunday. Depending on the servers and the ushers it takes about ten minutes out of a sixty-minute worship service to conduct communion. So why do we do this practice that takes up almost 17% of our worship service weekly? First, the word unity comes from part of the word communion. We find unity with God and fellow man in this shared practice. Second, the bread and wine in the Lutheran Church are not just a symbol of the body and the blood, but The Concordia states that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ. We are virtually time-warped back to the Cross of Christ and through this practice our sins are laid upon the Lord and forgiven. Further, Jesus is time-warped to us during communion and washes us clean. Finally, the practice draws us together in community. A shared sacrament that is meaningful to all who partake. One thing is for sure, communion done right strengthens our faith.
The passage concludes by Jesus saying, "...the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table." (v. 21) This statement brings a lot of guilty questions as to which disciple might do this thing. But very soon the disciples in their usual fashion change the subject and begin to debate which one of them would be the greatest. Jesus shuts them down by stating among other things that the greatest will be the one who is like the youngest and is one who serves rather than to be served.