The Last Supper: Jesus’s Sacrifice

Farrukh Saif

March 28, 2024

Last-supper-ecspe

The Last Supper is an important event in the lives of every Christian. It encapsulates various key themes that are central to the Christian faith.

 This was Jesus‘s final meal with His disciples before His betrayal and arrest. The Synoptic Gospels mention this event (Matthew 26:17–30; Mark 14:12–26; Luke 22:7–30). One of the significant moments during the Last Supper is when Jesus instructs His disciples to remember the sacrifice He is about to make for all of humanity: shedding His blood on the cross to atone for our sins (Luke 22:19).

What can we learn from the Last Supper?

Redemption through Sacrifice:

At the Last Supper, Jesus institutes the sacrament of communion, using bread and wine to symbolize his impending sacrifice on the cross. The act of breaking bread and sharing the cup signifies Jesus’ willingness to offer himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.

According to (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) “ For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

This highlights the centrality of Jesus’ death and resurrection in reconciling humanity with God, restoring the broken relationship caused by sin in the Garden of Eden.

New Covenant and Forgiveness of Sins:

Jesus refers to the cup of wine as “the new covenant in my blood” in accordance with Luke 22:20, “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

This signifies the inauguration of a new covenant between God and humanity. In the Old Testament, the covenant was established through the blood of sacrificial animals, but Jesus’ sacrifice inaugurates a new era of forgiveness and reconciliation. Through his shed blood, believers receive forgiveness of sins and are brought into a renewed relationship with God. As mentioned in Hebrews 9:15,

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Communion and Spiritual Nourishment:

The act of sharing bread and wine during the Last Supper is more than just symbolic. It represents communion with Christ and participation in His body and blood. By partaking in these elements, believers are spiritually nourished and strengthened in their faith. This emphasizes the intimate union between Christ and his followers, as well as the ongoing sustenance provided by his presence. As mentioned in John 6:53-58 

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Unity and Fellowship:

In the Last Supper with His disciples, He emphasizes the importance of unity and mutual love among believers. He prays for His disciples, asking them to be one, just as He and the Father are one.

As mentioned in John 17:20-23

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

This theological principle emphasizes the importance of Christian community and fellowship. Believers are called to love one another and work together in harmony to reflect the unity of the triune God.

Anticipation of the Kingdom:

The most important part we learn from the Last Supper, throughout the event, Jesus speaks of His impending departure and the promise of His return. He assures His disciples of the future kingdom of God and their participation in it. According to Luke 22:14-18

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

This highlights the eschatological dimension of the Last Supper, pointing to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purposes and the hope of eternal life for believers.

The Last Supper teaches us, encompassing themes of redemption, forgiveness, communion, unity, and eschatological hope. It serves as a central moment in Christian theology, reminding believers of the sacrificial love of Christ, the promise of salvation, and the call to live in communion with God and one another.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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