Some ask, “But aren’t the feasts for the old covenant?” It’s all God’s word; how do we apply it in the new covenant. Jesus said that no part of the law would pass away “until all is fulfilled.” Has all been fulfilled? Why did the church stop celebrating the feasts? Why did they cease to move in the gifts? Why did they reject the authority of scripture?
To begin to understand how the disciples may have thought about this event, we have to realize that this took place during a traditional Passover meal. The Passover observed in the first century was different than the modern Jewish holiday. It was more like the Passover celebrated by Moses and the Hebrews before the exodus. In the first century, they still had a temple, a priesthood and observed sacrifices, unlike modern Jews. During Jesus’ three years of ministry, He most likely observed the Passover with His disciples at least twice. But this time, it was different. Jesus broke tradition at His Last Supper. The unleavened bread that Jesus broke had always been a reminder to the Hebrews of the manna that God provided in the wilderness. During the Passover meal it was intended to remind them of God’s miraculous provision and care for them in providing for their physical needs. He kept them alive! Life literally came from heaven. When Jesus said, “This is my body that is broken for you. Take and eat,” it must have stirred a memory for the disciples from an earlier time in Jesus’ ministry. It was not necessarily a good memory. The event is recorded in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel. It occurs the day after Jesus had fed 5,000 men plus women and children. This huge crowd followed Him to the other side of the sea at Capernaum. His ministry was growing exponentially. It was flourishing. He was known throughout Judea and the Decapolis region. And then, He tells the people that He is the bread that came down from heaven. People began to complain. Jesus responds, “I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he shall live forever. And truly the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) He told them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood! John records, interestingly in verse 6:66, that most of the crowd left. It was bad marketing, Jesus. The Jews, who wouldn’t even touch a dead body, probably thought to themselves, “This man is a pagan. He wants us to be cannibals. The Pharisees are right about this man.” He asked the disciples if they wanted to leave. Peter responded, “where else would we go? You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter and the disciples most likely did not understand what Jesus was saying, but they believed He was God in the flesh and they accepted Him by faith, even though they did not understand. What great faith! Oh, that we could have that sort of faith. So, Jesus was repeating at this Last Supper what He had earlier taught in Capernaum where He was soundly rejected. It certainly must have caused the disciples to think about Jesus being their source of life like the manna from heaven in the wilderness.
- Lamb: Christ our sacrifice. The next day John saw Jesus coming, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29)
- Bitter herbs: bitterness of slavery to sin. Don’t you know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom 6:16)
- Matzo, unleavened (no yeast, fungus) bread: pierced and striped. Your glorying is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven multiplies through the whole lump? (1Co 5:6)
- Wine: In the same way he took the cup, when he had eaten, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. (1Co 11:25) 4 cups: separation, deliverance, salvation, community. Moreover whom he predestined, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Rom 8:30)
- Charoseth: the fruit of the Spirit.
Prayer: How blessed You are, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sent Your only Son, Y’Shua the Messiah, to be the light of the world and our Passover lamb, that through Him we might live. Amen.
Do these essentials:
Bless the children
First cup, holiness.
Story of shame to glory: Stephen’s sermon. Acts 7.
Second cup of deliverance
The Korech or the sop (unleavened bread, bitter herbs and charoseth, bitter and sweet); Jn 13:21-27
Third cup, redemption, salvation. Mark 14: 18-26
Fourth cup, completion, community