Remember his death–the Last Supper

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.

This disturbing picture reflects Yeshua’s last Seder with his disciples, especially as portrayed by Luke, who points out that the hand of the betrayer is on the table (Luke 22:21). This remark sets the disciples to disputing—or rejoining their ongoing dispute— about which one of them will be the greatest—clearly a 180 from the direction Yeshua sets with his own death, which is a death for the other. Clearly they need to remember his death as the transformative example for their own lives—and so do we, as often as we eat the bread and drink this cup. And above all, we remember Messiah’s death as the picture of the self-giving character of the God we serve.

Christian author Mark Galli comments on the perpetual questions we have about God’s justice, especially about the eternal destiny of those who die without ever knowing about Yeshua. “In the face of our most perplexing questions, we put our hope . . . in the God who came to us in Christ and died under Pontius Pilate, died not only for our sins, but for the sins of the world. To whom can we go if we cannot wholly and completely trust this God to be good?”[1] When we remember Messiah’s death for us, we’re to remember to live for others as well. Even more, we remember that we can trust God completely every step along that way.

[1] Mark Galli, “Crucified under Pontius Pilate.” Christianity Today, April 2012.


1 thought on “Remember his death–the Last Supper”

  1. Great Rabbi Russ! I also think that we should remember to die with him Gal.2:20 and Romans 12:1-2 so that we are not trying to be in first place with our fellow believers.We also are not able to be easily offended by others because you can’t offend “the dead” This death to self truly gives us abundant life!

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