On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Passover Supper is the time when all the Jews remember and celebrate God’s covenant with them. his promise to lead them out of slavery and in to the Promised Land. In Jesus’s time, the Jews were waiting for a Messiah to lead them back to the Promised Land they had been exiled from, and the Passover celebration would have been especially meaningful. It was no accident on Jesus’s part that He made the New Covenant with them on that night.
The Promised Land the Jews hoped to return to is not Israel as they thought, but eternal life in Heaven. Their entry is given through Jesus’s sacrifice of body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus, sinless and pure, died for us, taking on our sins so that we might be forgiven and join Him in Heaven. This is the “Good News”, the “Gospel Message,” and the great miracle of the Bible.
Notice, also, that Jesus explains the covenant after revealing to the disciple’s betrayal. In some form or fashion, every single one of the disciples will betray Him, not just Judas. They will all flee when He is arrested. And yet, Jesus still offers His body and blood for them. His sacrifice is for all of us, even though we, too, are sinners. We all betray Jesus in some way every single day, and yet His sacrifice for us remains.
How amazing is that? When I sit and think about the New Covenant, I never fail to be amazed. It’s so hard to fathom, that Jesus loves us that much. It inspires me to be more forgiving, something I struggle with, but Jesus sure doesn’t. It inspires to me to try and be a better person, one who might deserve even a fraction of such a love. I has truly changed my life.