The Supper Tastes Like Three Tenses (Luke 22:14–20)

The Lord’s Supper is a spring loaded mechanism; the backward thrust is meant to propel us forward. In Luke’s account, before Jesus once tells us to do this in remembrance He has twice given reason to anticipate: the future wedding feast when He will again eat bread and drink wine with His bride (Luke 22:16, 18; cf. Revelation 19:6–9; Isaiah 25:6–9). Matthew and Mark neither one tell us to remember, but they do tell us to anticipate (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25). If your remembering doesn’t lead to anticipating, your not remembering very well.

Sometimes it’s said that at the Last Supper the disciples looked forward, while in the Lord’s Supper we look backward. As regards Christ’s atoning death this is spot on, but that’s not everything. In the Supper they were to look forward to a day that is beyond our own, yet, that is here now. Luke uniquely tells us that Jesus will not eat the Passover again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:15–16). The Lord’s Supper is the fulfillment of the Passover, but it is a partial fulfillment. When we partake of the Supper, we are eating the future. The Lord’s Supper is the future fulfillment of the Passover, breaking into the present: God and man, sitting at a table, dining together (Luke 13:29–30).

The Lord’s Supper tells us that this feast will be, and it tells us how this feast will be. The answer to how this feast will be is what this feast is. Man will eat with God, because He has eaten of God. Stephen Charnock succinctly summarized the succulence of Supper saying, “A feast with God is great, but a feast on God is greater.” This is the marrow of the Supper that we partake of now by faith, the marrow of the eternal feast that has broken into the present.

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