Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you Luke 22:20
As the disciples gathered at the table they thought they had come with their master to share a traditional Passover meal. Everything was put in place just as it had been since the days of Moses. There was the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs and the four cups reminding then of God’s deliverance from Egypt. But as they sat at the table Jesus began a series of revelations familiar to us but shocking to the disciples.
Jesus began the supper telling them that He already knew that one of them was a traitor. This would have been like sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and having the head of the household calmly say, “Praise God, I am thankful for this meal but I know one of you is a murderer!” Can you imagine the faces of James, John Matthew and Peter? Then as they sat in shock Jesus took the first cup called “Kiddush” signifying salvation. As Jesus took that cup He told His disciples to divide it among themselves because He would not drink it again until He drank it in the Kingdom of God. The disciples didn’t understand what He meant but they sensed that something momentous was about to happen.
Then as they sat at the table Jesus took the bread and when he had given thanks he told them, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” The unleavened bread reminded them that they were to flee in haste from Egypt but now Jesus tells them it is His body given for them. That teaching of the blood and body of Jesus was exactly what had caused many of the early disciples to turn away when Jesus had told them the day after the feeding of the 5,000. Now in stunning fashion Jesus repeats with even greater emphasis that this was not just a passing teaching but was central to being a believer. We must share in His body given for us! It is not an option! Last of all after they had eaten came the fourth “cup – the cup of praise (Hallel)”. This cup represented the flight of the children of Israel through the Red Sea, but now Jesus tells them it is His blood – the blood of a new covenant between God and man. Maybe the disciples were beginning to understand what Jesus was doing because we are told that after that astonishing Passover was finished they had a time of joyful praise.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:26
Jesus had not drunk from the cups at supper but on the Mount of Olives in a garden called Gethsemane He had a different cup to drink. The first cups He blessed and gave to His disciples and to us. When we receive our cup we must remember that He was given a cup which He prayed in agony not to have to drink. But on this Maundy Thursday as we look back at that night we can thank God that He took His cup filled with pain and bitterness and drank all it so that ours could be a cup filled with joy, salvation and eternal life!