Text: Luke 22:7-20; Exodus 12:7,13
Props: communion wafers and cup or a poster of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, 1497.
Summary: This explains the Lord’s Supper to children. Jesus told the true meaning of the Passover meal to his disciples. Jesus explained the Passover in terms of his own sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Today we are going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Have you ever wondered why we eat these crunchy wafers of bread or drink the grape juice (or wine) in church? What does it mean? What we are doing is something to remember the suffering that Jesus endured for us. It has a deeper meaning that we can understand from reading the Bible.
As our Lord was finishing his ministry on earth, the night came when he ate the last supper with his disciples before he suffered on the cross. It was a very important meal and he had a very important message for his followers. This was the Passover meal. This meal began in Egypt when God told Moses that deliverance was coming the next day.
The Passover meal was familiar to God’s people. It reminded them of the night in which God sent the destroyer into Egypt and killed the oldest son in every household, except those houses which had the blood of the lamb spread over the door posts. (Read Exodus 12:7,13] The blood was a sign that the destroyer would see and pass over that house and spare the life of the oldest son within. God told the children of Israel to keep the feast of Passover as a memorial of their deliverance from being slaves for the Egyptians. This day was to the Israelites as our Independence Day is for Americans. It was the day they were set free.
A one-year-old lamb, without any spots on the wool (without blemish), would be killed and after the blood was spread on the upper and side door posts, it would be roasted on a fire. It was eaten quickly with bitter herbs. The bitter herbs reminded them of the 430 years of slavery in Egypt. The bread was made without any leaven in the flour to make it rise. When baked, it was flat and tasteless and crunchy, sort of like a cracker without any salt on it. The leaven was a reminder of sin, so this bread was without sin.
Jesus taught his disciples I am that bread of life. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (John 6:48.50) The traditional prayer before the bread was eaten was this: Blessed art thou O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. (Read Luke 22:19] Jesus told us that he was giving his body as a sacrifice for our deliverance from the bondage of sin. He was without sin, a lamb without blemish, bread without leaven (sin). This prayer foretold his being raised from the dead; this Bread would come forth from the earth. Our deliverance from sin was at hand.
The cup of wine held an important meaning also. Before drinking it, the traditional prayer was this: Blessed are thou O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine. Jesus had worked hard for three years to develop his disciples into men of God. Jesus taught them I am the vine, and ye are the branches. (John 15:5) He had created what they were and they were the fruit of his labor. Now it was up to them to spread the good news. The wine was a symbol of the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It meant he would forgive the sins of all who believed on him. This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. (Mark 14:24)
The last supper took on a new meaning for the disciples after Jesus rose on Easter. Jesus was God’s lamb, sacrificed for the sins of the world. His blood had been shed so that death passed over us and we could hope to have eternal life. Jesus overcame death and rose from the dead. That is how the Passover meal became known as the Lord’s Supper. Jesus commanded us: this do in remembrance of me. It has continued to this day in the churches for us to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.