Jesus said in Luke 22:15, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Have you ever noticed this text? This means that only hours before Jesus would suffer for our sins upon the cross He had an attitude of eagerness and excitement.
Here are three reasons why I think Jesus was “earnestly desiring” to share this meal with the twelve.
He loved His Disciples
Jesus loved His disciples. They spent three years by his side; sleeping where he slept, going where he went and eating what he ate. He called them to count the cost and bear the cross as they followed Him, and they did. They were not perfect at it, as none of us are, and they often just didn’t get it, but nonetheless they were His. To sit down at a table with them in this somber hour, just before His betrayal, arrest and death, was momentous to say the least. Jesus loved this communion table because around it sat the ones He came to save. Not even Judas Iscariot could deter the Lord’s joy. With eagerness He gathered with His beloved Disciples to set before them an ordinance that would forever remind the Church of the most important event in history; the death of the Son of God.
He is The Passover Lamb
Thousands of years after the Exodus and the first Passover meal, John the Baptist heralded the arrival of Christ with these words, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The Lamb had come to earth. And just like the first Passover lamb, this Lamb was going to be killed; one Lamb for one household. The blood of the offering would flow down the tree once and for all. All those whose faith is in this Lamb shall never see death. As Jesus raised the bread and the cup to bless it, so close to the hour of His passion, He declared to His disciples once again that He is that Passover Lamb.
This is the blood of the new covenant, poured out for many, and my body broken for you.
Suffering was soon to come, but He was joyous over what that suffering would bring. The new covenant in His blood would bring a permanent and eternal solution to an otherwise eternal problem.
A Future Meal
Matthew 26:29 “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus was without a doubt aware of the suffering that would soon be upon Him. But he knew that suffering unto death was precisely the reason He came, and that after His suffering He would be raised to new life and reunited with His Father in Glory. At the commencement of the ages, when all the redeemed Church of God are united together in the presence of Jesus, there will be another feast in the Father’s Kingdom. This is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). It will be a feast of grand proportion; plenty of food, plenty of drink, fullness of joy for every guest and no sin and suffering will spoil the occasion. All the guests will be given white robes, pure and bright. They will not buy or manufacture these garments themselves because they are purchased for them by the Lamb. There will be singing and dancing that echos in the heavens. Glorified man and magnificent angel will praise the Lamb who was slain.
Would this not have brightened the heart of Jesus as he approached His hour of trial? The last supper signified a promise to both Jesus and His disciples that we will all be united together again one day. The sufferings of this life are only temporary. Sin and unrighteousness may rule today but by the blood of the Lamb we shall overcome.
I say all of this to say that Jesus loved Communion and so should we. This ordinance we have is no small matter. It points us to the suffering servant whose body was broken and whose blood was poured out. It reminds us of the the union we share with Christ today as His body. We not only come to the communion table, but to the table of grace; to His merciful and always accessible throne for help in time of need. Sharing this meal is also designed to point us to a future glory. When we commemorate His death with the simple elements of unleavened bread and wine we are looking forward in faith to another feast at another table. At this table there will not only be twelve. We will celebrate with all the redeemed of God which He has gathered from every nation, tribe and tongue on earth. So let us be like the Lord, Jesus, and earnestly desire to share the communion meal with our brothers and sisters and to earnestly desire the eternal presence of Christ.