The more I study Jewish services and festivals, the more I understand Jesus. In celebrating the Last Supper, we celebrate the Lamb of God—the Passover Lamb—who takes away the sin of the world.
The Communion elements of bread and wine come from the Passover feast, also called a Seder meal.
To prepare for Passover, a Jewish woman would cleanse her household of anything containing leaven, which represents sin. Matza, the bread used for Passover, has no leaven and is striped and pierced—just as our Lord had no sin, yet was whipped and pierced for us.
This is why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8: Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
We must be cleansed of all sin and spend time fellowshipping and communing with Him in order to be spiritually transformed into His likeness. Jesus tells us in John 6:56: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” His sacrifice on the cross enables us to become partakers of His divine nature. The more we have fellowship and communion with the Lord, the more we can be transformed into His image.
The four cups of wine in the Seder refer to God’s four statements of deliverance in Exodus 6, where He promises to lead the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land.
First is the cup of sanctification, referring to God’s declaration, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (v. 6). As Christians, our wonderful journey with the Lord begins as we are separated and set apart from the world.
Second is the cup of affliction, also called the cup of deliverance and of salvation. This signifies God’s statement, “I will rescue you from their bondage” (v. 6). Jesus tells us in John 8:34, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” We cannot break free from the bondage of our sin; that is why God sent His Son to rescue us.
Third is the cup of blessing, which we celebrate at the Lord’s Table. It is also called the cup of redemption and points to God’s promise, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (Exodus 6:6). The Hebrew root for “redeem” means paying ransom to get a family member out of slavery, and “outstretched arm” means the pinnacle of His strength. Picture Jesus with His arms outstretched on a cross, representing the pinnacle of God’s strength—and we can understand His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The enemy thought he had won when Jesus died, yet Christ was actually paying the ransom to rescue all of His family members—everyone who believes in Him.
Fourth is the cup of restoration, also called the cup of hope or consummation. This refers to God’s promise, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7). We have the glorious hope that Jesus will return and take us to be with Him for all eternity.
Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is a time to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the leaven in our lives and show us what is not pleasing to Him. Thank Him for delivering you from the power of sin. Because of what Jesus did—with outstretched arms on the cross—we are set apart, saved, blessed, redeemed and restored.
May our Risen Lord fill you with His joy and presence. God bless you.
Scripture is quoted from the NKJV. This teaching was given during a CBN staff chapel meeting.
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