Last Supper of Christ February 5 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Exodus 10:1–13:16

A Picture with a Purpose

What do we do to help us remember significant events or people? We take pictures. Or, if the person or event was very significant, we might set up memorials or even dedicate a day to honor him or it. The picture above is The Last Supper of Christ and his disciples before his crucifixion. The basis for this picture is found in today's Bible reading, the Passover Feast. Why was there a Passover Feast? What did it mean for them, and what does it mean for us today?

We saw in our last Bible study that God was delivering his people through plagues on Egypt. In today's Bible reading we see the last three plagues— locusts, darkness, and the death of the first born. Each plague attacks one of their gods to show the Egyptians and the Israelites that the LORD is Sovereign (more...).

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD." (Exodus 10:1-2: NIV)

When stories of how God delivered the Israelites were shared, children would come to know the LORD and their faith and hope in him would increase. They would know that God sees his people when they are distressed. They would know that he delivers them from their enemies. We can draw the same encouragement from the story of Israel’s deliverance. Their God is our God. We Christian parents should share this story and other Bible stories with our children and grandchildren to help them remember that God answers prayer. We need to keep repeating them until they know the stories by heart. This will help build our confidence and their confidence in the LORD.

Just before Israel is delivered from slavery, they do something to remember it— they celebrate the first Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. This, too, is for a purpose. The LORD tells Moses,

Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” Then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:24-27, NIV)

The Passover is instituted so every generation of Israelites will remember the time each Israelite family selected a one year old male lamb or goat without defect, killed it, and then spread its blood on the door posts and lintel of their dwellings with a hyssop branch. When the plague came, God saw the blood and passed over them. God is merciful to those who fear and obey him.

Later in history, Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem, giving it a more significant meaning. This Passover pictures how the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb of God, covers us. His blood sacrifice is even better than the Passover sacrifice because his blood atones for our sin with one sacrifice forever (Hebrews 9:28; 10:10,14). On the Day of Judgment, when God sees the blood of his Son applied on the doorposts of our hearts, he passes over us—we are safe from destruction (eternal judgment in hell). Have you accepted Jesus' Passover sacrifice for you? If so, you are delivered from your sins and made righteous in his sight. You will not be condemned—you will enter the Promised Land of heaven. If you have not accepted Christ, salvation is available to you (more...)

The Passover meal is eaten in haste. Judgment upon the Egyptians is being accomplished, and the Israelites are swiftly delivered from their bondage. Because of the haste of that night, yeast (leaven) is not added to the bread. The Feast of the Unleavened Bread is instituted so the Israelites will remember their quick deliverance from affliction. Two thousand years later Jesus' body is afflicted on the Cross of Calvary as Roman soldiers, having mocked, beat, and spat upon him, then crucify him, nailing his wrists and ankles to the cross. Isaiah 53:5,7-8 describe his affliction. Because he was afflicted, suffering for our sins in our place, we can be quickly set free from our bondage to sin (1Peter 2:24).

Today the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is remembered with new significance as believers gather together for a Communion service. It is a picture of Jesus' sacrifice. The cup of grape juice or wine represents the blood of Christ, and the matzoth, crackers, or bread without yeast, represent the body of the Lord, which he suffered for us on the cross. We should participate in the Communion service on a regular basis so we and our children will remember how God powerfully and quickly delivers us from our sins through his Son, Jesus Christ.

In the last plague upon Egypt, the LORD kills every first born son and first born animal. Because of this, another memorial is established—the offering of the firstborn. The firstborn livestock are sacrificed as a burnt offering to the LORD. The firstborn children, however, are offered to the LORD in a different way—lambs are offered as a substitute for their lives. These offerings are for the Israelites to remember how the LORD spared their lives when God sent the last plague upon Egypt. This is a beautiful picture of what God did for us—he sent his firstborn Son to our world and offered him up as a perfect substitute lamb for our sins. He did this so we would not have to be destroyed like those who have not trusted in God. In great gratitude, we and our children, today, should be dedicated to the LORD as living sacrifices for him (Romans 12:1).

Memorials help us remember what God has done, and they give us faith in what he can do. What memorials do you have which you can share?

Lessons to Live By

  • Share Bible stories and other stories of faith with your children and grandchildren so they may come to know God and have faith in him.
  • The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread picture the death of Christ for us—how we might be powerfully and quickly delivered from our bondage to sin. If we accept this sacrifice of Christ for us, we can be forgiven and not condemned (more...).
  • Let's participate in the Communion service on a regular basis so we and our children (if we have any) will remember how God delivers us from our sins through his Son, Jesus.
  • In great gratitude for saving us, we and our children should be dedicated to the LORD as living sacrifices for him.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses

1Corinthians 11:24-25 (NIV)

And when he [Jesus] had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 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.”

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A Look Ahead: The Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt. So their troubles were over—right? Wrong! Why Should We Trust God when things don't go right in our lives after becoming Christians? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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