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66 THE LORD'S SUPPER."
IN the midst of the last week of our Lord's life on earth, before His crucifixion, and during what is known as "Passion Week," one of the interesting things that Jesus did was to keep the "Jewish Passover." This Passover feast had been kept by the Jews every year for nearly 1,500, years. It was the most solemn religious service they had. It was first observed by them in the night on which their nation was delivered from the bondage of Egypt, and began their march towards the promised land of Canaan. We read about the establishment of this solemn service in the book of Exodus, 12th chapter. It was a memorable deliverance wrought out for the children of Israel. Think of a land retiring to slumber under the threat of a terrible destruction; some of its dwellers unconscious, some scornful, others apparently heedless; but troubled by a strange misgiving, and in the mid
night hour, when all the world was still, hark! That frantic wail resounding through the midnight air, rising in simultaneous sorrow from palace, and from mansion, and cottage; rich and poor touched into fellowship by the great leveller, trouble, and amid the glare of torches and the tramp of hasty feet, each cheek blanched into an ashen paleness, and on each lip the same dread words of agony.
Gradually the knowledge is gathered that the destruction is a common one, and that from every dwelling the fondest and most treasured had departed, for "throughout the whole land there was not an Egyptian house in which there was not one dead.”
Well might there be "a cry in Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall there be any more." But see in the land of Goshen, those dwellings whose door-posts are sprinkled with blood; dwellings which the proud sons of Egypt would have scorned to enter; dwellings of menials and slaves, but within them on that night of disaster there is no bleeding heart, nor one beloved one slain; but everywhere songs of thanksgiving and joy.
God had set His token upon those dwellings
of Israel; they are the Lord's favored ones, and as He passed them by the avenging angel smiled. See them thrust out in haste, enriched with the spoil of their oppressors; driven into liberty before the blast of a nation's fear; leaving the land of bondage behind them, pitching their tents as freemen, and do you wonder that their hearts should feel and voices sing, "It is a night to be observed unto the Lord."
This was the memory uppermost in the minds of the disciples when the Saviour "took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to them; and though the veil was on their hearts just then, so that they knew not the full significance of the act, nor comprehended the grandeur of their Master's mission, in after time, when they had been schooled in the upper-room, and shared in the baptism of Pentecost, they would understand it better, and would see, as we see in the light of a perfected revelation, how fitly on the night of the Passover was instituted the memorial of deliverance from a bondage greater than Egyptian, and from the deadlier perils of a death that never dies?
But if the minds of the disciples were filled with thoughts of the Passover and its great sal
vation, what were the thoughts of the Redeemer? He was just entering within the shadow of His Passion. There stretched out before His conscious eye the whole course of suffering which He had set Himself bravely to travel. His betrayal, His arrest, the garden, the judgment hall, the cross, the sepulchre, then the drear and lonely time of desertion by the Father, that most terrible of all possible endurance, all these were before Him, and distinct and near.
He saw the approach of the great sorrow. It was the same night on which He was betrayed." It was the "Last Supper" table.
He gazed with ineffable tenderness upon His disciples whom He had chosen, and who were so soon to be orphaned of His love.
He knew them, save the betrayed, to be true at heart though infirm of purpose, and earthly in conception, and dazzled with high imaginings of a temporal kingdom. "With desire," then broke out the strong affection which many waters could not quench. "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer," as if He had said, "My time is at hand, I can no longer delay the completion of My solemn purpose. I go to My Father and ye see Me no
more, yet a little while and I must die!" This is the Passover. Ye have been remembering its deliverance, but ye will soon have a tender memory. "Take, eat this bread, it is My body," soon to be broken for sinners. Take, drink this wine, it is "the New Testament in My blood." Forget Me not when ye no longer see Me. "This do in remembrance of Me."
Such is the account we have of the first establishment of "the Lord's Supper." It was to take the place of the "Jewish Passover," and to be observed by the followers of Christ all over the earth, until the time when He shall come again to receive His saints.
And this solemn sacrament, this holy communion, this supper of our Lord, ought to be observed, or kept, by all who love Him. First, "Because He commands it." This do in remembrance of Me." This commandment is plain, positive, and authoritative. "This do." And the meaning of what he says is, "This do," all ye who profess to be My followers, all over the world, and through all ages. And this is one of the commandments He expects all His people to keep. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments."