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Completed meal

By Jim Killebrew

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[April 18, 2014]  "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take it, this is my body.' Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,' he said to them. 'I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God'" (Mark 14:22-25).*

The Passover meal had progressed to a point where Jesus interjected this very familiar scene. Breaking the bread, He likened it to His body. The cup, He said, is His "blood of the covenant."

The Passover meal consists of four cups:

  • The Cup of Sanctification  based on God's statement, "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."

  • The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance  based on God's statement, "I will deliver you from slavery to them."

  • The Cup of Redemption  based on God's statement, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm."

  • The Cup of Praise or Restoration  based on God's statement, "I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God."

At that very moment, Jesus did an extraordinary thing. He propelled the Passover meal, or the "Last Supper," into a perpetual future event. Although the meal was likely not meant to end at that time, Jesus abruptly ended it by saying, "I tell you the truth; I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." He had finished the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, but the fourth cup, the Cup of Restoration for this meal, would not yet be finished.

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An act that is never finished is ever-present. It lingers on and on, never reaching a conclusion or finding complete resolution. In 1 Corinthians 11:24, the Apostle Paul adds that when we eat and drink at the Lord's table, we should do so in "remembrance" of Jesus.

We remember Jesus in the Lord's Supper not only for what He has already done in the work of salvation, but in what He is going to do when He finally brings that meal to a conclusion.

Each time we eat and drink that meal, we should be in a constant state of readiness, looking forward to finally being with Him and all those who have claimed Him and His salvation, as He stands at the head of the table of the wedding supper (Revelation 19:9). There He will raise the last cup of the fruit of the vine and invite each of us to drink with Him together as that meal is finally concluded.

In this way, we are not only sharing with Him continually in the drinking of a cup that is His "blood of the covenant," but are constantly looking forward to sharing with Him His final victory, remembering His sacrifice for each of us.

[By JIM KILLEBREW]

* Scriptures from NIV version

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