From Heaven With Love


Chapter 72—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 the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. HLv 439.1

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 national festival of the Jews, was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established in its place was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. HLv 439.2

The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. The Lord's Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. This ordinance is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds. HLv 439.3

In Christ's time, the people partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. The guests lay on couches placed about the table, the right hand free for use in eating. In this position a guest could lay his head on the breast of the one who sat next above him. And the feet, at the outer edge of the couch, could be washed by one passing around the outside of the circle. HLv 439.4

Christ was still at the table on which the paschal supper had been spread. The unleavened cakes were before Him. The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, was on the table. These emblems Christ employed to represent His own unblemished sacrifice. See 1 Peter 1:19. HLv 440.1

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.” HLv 440.2

Judas the betrayer received from Jesus the emblems of His broken body and spilled blood. Sitting in the very presence of the Lamb of God, the betrayer brooded on his dark purposes, and cherished his revengeful thoughts. HLv 440.3

At the feet washing, Christ had given convincing proof that He understood the character of Judas. “Ye are not all clean,” He said. John 13:11. Now Christ spoke out more plainly: “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me.” HLv 440.4

Even now the disciples did not suspect Judas. But a cloud settled over them, a premonition of some dreadful calamity. As they ate in silence, Jesus said, “Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” Consternation seized them. How could any one of them deal treacherously with their divine Teacher? Betray Him? To whom? Surely not one of the favored Twelve! HLv 440.5

As they remembered how true His sayings were, fear and self-distrust seized them. With painful emotion, one after another inquired, “Lord, is it I?” But Judas sat silent. John at last inquired, “Lord, who is it?” And Jesus answered, “He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.” The silence of Judas drew all eyes to him. Amid the confusion of questions and astonishment, Judas had not heard the words of Jesus in answer to John's question. But now, to escape the scrutiny of the disciples, he asked as they had done, “Master, is it I?” Jesus solemnly replied, “Thou hast said.” HLv 440.6

In surprise and confusion at the exposure of his purpose, Judas rose hastily to leave the room. Then said Jesus, “That thou doest, do quickly... . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” Night it was as the traitor turned from Christ into outer darkness. HLv 441.1

Until this step, Judas had not passed the possibility of repentance. But when he left his Lord and his fellow disciples, he had passed the boundary line. Nothing that could be done to save Judas had been left undone. After he had twice covenanted to betray his Lord, Jesus still gave him opportunity for repentance. By reading the secret purpose of the traitor's heart, Christ gave to Judas the final, convincing evidence of His divinity. This was the last call to repentance. From the sacramental supper Judas went out to complete the work of betrayal. HLv 441.2

In pronouncing the woe on Judas, Christ also had a purpose of mercy toward His disciples. “I tell you before it come,” He said, “that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am.” Had Jesus remained silent, the disciples might have thought that their Master had not 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 should come to his dreadful end, they would remember the woe that Jesus had pronounced on the betrayer. HLv 441.3

And the Saviour had still another purpose. The disciples had something to consider as to the patience and mercy of God toward the most grievously erring. The betrayer was privileged to unite with Christ in partaking of the sacrament. This example is for us. When we suppose one to be in error and sin, we are not to divorce ourselves from him, to leave him a prey to temptation, or drive him on Satan's battleground. It was because the disciples were erring and faulty that Christ washed their feet, and all but one were thus brought to repentance. HLv 441.4