Whenever I read Rav Shaul’s account of Messiah’s last Seder, I always wonder at his concluding phrase: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Why “the Lord’s death”? Don’t we celebrate Messiah’s resurrection and his life among us when we partake of the Lord’s Seder? Yes, but apparently we need the reminder to pay full attention to his death at the beginning of Passover before we come to the resurrection on the third day.
What stands out the most about Messiah’s death as he describes it at his last Passover is that it’s for us: “This is my body that is for you. . . . This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor. 11: 24–25). Yeshua gives his body for us; he sheds his blood to bring us into covenant. That’s what we are to remember when we eat of the Lord’s Seder. (There’s a whole discussion about whether we share this remembrance meal only at Passover or throughout the year, which I’m not getting into here. Paul tells the Corinthians, “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death,” and that should cover all cases.) In the context of 1 Corinthians. Paul is contrasting the right kind of Lord’s Supper with the Corinthians’ supper, which is clearly a matter of eating for self, with factions, social hierarchy, greed, and impatience.