Humble Hero


The Lord’s Supper Instituted

This chapter is based on Matthew 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23; John 13:18-30.

“The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. HH 305.1

Christ, the Lamb of God, was about to bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. The Passover, the Jews’ national festival, was to pass away forever. The service that Christ established in its place was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. HH 305.2

God gave the Passover to commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery. The Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance that Christ’s death brought about. This ordinance is God’s way of keeping His great work for us fresh in our minds. HH 305.3

In Christ’s time, the people ate the Passover supper in a reclining position. The guests lay on couches placed around the table. They rested on the left arm, keeping the right hand free for use in eating. In this position a guest could lay his head on the chest of the one who sat next above him. And the feet, at the outer edge of the couch, could be washed by someone moving around the outside of the circle. HH 305.4

Christ was still at the table on which the Passover supper had been spread. The unleavened loaves were in front of Him. The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, was on the table. Christ used these emblems to represent His own unblemished sacrifice. See 1 Peter 1:19. HH 305.5

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’” HH 305.6

Judas, the betrayer, received from Jesus the symbols of His broken body and spilled blood. Sitting in the very presence of the Lamb of God, the betrayer brooded on his dark plans and clung to his revengeful thoughts. HH 306.1

At the feet washing, Christ had given convincing proof that He understood Judas’s character. “You are not all clean,” He said. John 13:11. Now Christ spoke out more plainly: “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’” HH 306.2

Even now the disciples did not suspect Judas. But a cloud settled over them, a premonition of some terrible calamity. As they ate in silence, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” This alarmed and confused them. How could any one of them deal treacherously with their divine Teacher? Betray Him? To whom? Surely not one of the favored Twelve! HH 306.3

As they remembered how true His sayings were, fear and self-distrust came over them. With painful emotion, one after another inquired, “Lord, is it I?” But Judas sat silent. Finally John inquired, “Lord, who is it?” And Jesus answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.” Judas’s silence drew all eyes to him. Amid the confusion of questions and astonishment, Judas had not heard Jesus’ words in answer to John’s question. But now, to divert the attention of the others from himself, he asked as they had done, “Rabbi, is it I?” Jesus solemnly replied, “You have said it.” HH 306.4

Surprised and confused at having his plans exposed, Judas quickly got up to leave the room. Then Jesus said, “‘What you do, do quickly.’ ... Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” Night it was as the traitor turned from Christ into the outer darkness. HH 306.5

Until this step, Judas had not gone beyond the possibility of repentance. But when he left his Lord and his fellow disciples, he had passed the boundary line. Jesus had left nothing undone that could be done to save Judas. After he had twice agreed to betray his Lord, Jesus still gave him opportunity to repent. By reading the secret plan in the traitor’s heart, Christ gave Judas the final, convincing evidence of His divinity. This was the last call to repent. From the sacred supper, Judas went out to complete the work of betrayal. HH 306.6

In pronouncing the woe on Judas, Christ also had a merciful purpose toward His disciples. “I tell you before it comes,” He said, “that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.” If Jesus had remained silent, the disciples might have thought that their Master did not have divine foresight and had been surprised. A year before, Jesus had told the disciples that He had chosen twelve, and that one was a devil. Now His words to Judas would strengthen the faith of Christ’s true followers during His humiliation. When Judas would come to his dreadful end, they would remember the woe that Jesus had pronounced on the betrayer. HH 306.7

And the Savior had still another purpose. He gave the disciples something to consider regarding the patience and mercy of God toward those who have committed some of the worst wrongs. The betrayer was privileged to unite with Christ in partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This example is for us. When we suppose someone to be in error and sin, we should not divorce ourselves from him, leave him to suffer temptation, or drive him onto Satan’s battleground. It was because the disciples made mistakes and were faulty that Christ washed their feet, and in this way He brought all but one to repentance. HH 307.1