The Last Supper was a Passover meal and in Jesus’ time, the Passover meal had several traditions, including four cups of wine to be drunk throughout the night and certain types of food to be eaten, with everything representing a different theme. Jesus followed these traditions, but gave many of the foods new meaning. The Passover lamb come to save God’s people was now Jesus himself. The unleavened bread they ate at the original Passover meal was now his body. And the third cup of wine that followed dinner, known as “the cup of blessing,” was now considered Jesus’ blood.
But the fourth cup of wine that ended the Passover meal was never drunk, for Jesus declared, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” That means that Last Supper paused on the third cup of Jesus’ blood, not the fourth cup that concluded the ceremony. And Jesus knew that third cup was the cross and just how hard it would be to fully drink that cup. That’s why while praying in the Garden of Gethsamene, Jesus prayed, “Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
And then he yielded his blood to be poured out on the cross, which is the blessed and miserable day we remember as Good Friday. A day so miserable that my daughter has cried this week just trying to comprehend the grief.
A great wedding feast between Jesus and the church is coming one day, and when that day comes we shall all drink the final cup anew in the Father’s Kingdom of a new Heaven and new earth in our new resurrected bodies. But for now we live in the lull of the second Passover we call the Last Supper—more specifically between the third and fourth cup. The meal has yet to be finished as God desires that more will paint the blood of the cross of the Passover lamb of Jesus upon the doors of their heart so that more will be saved and protected from the day of judgment when the new day finally dawns.
In the blood of Jesus, time has stopped and continued and repeated itself all in one moment. May we not only drink of the cup in which Jesus dared to offer and drink, but may we offer this cup to others as God dares to wait for more to be saved.