This Study Guide is from The Rev. Adam Hamilton’s Course in the Last 24 Hours of Jesus’ life on earth. If you have a text book, read along with the corresponding chapters, and if you have a daily devotional you might start on Ash Wednesday. There are no hard and fast rules. You can do this at your own speed. Classes are on Sundays after church with Jim Poplin or on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 with Rev. Card. If neither of these times is convenient, you can follow along online at facebook.com/pumcnh/, or our website peterboroughumc.org. This information is shared for your enrichment.
24 Hours that Changed the World
The Last Supper
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed…he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
This week we will study in more detail than you may have ever done before the Last Supper of Jesus. May this be a time of blessing and spiritual insight for you!
Monday: – Read Mark 14:12-26. This will give you a starting point and overview for our study of the Last Supper. Before we even begin to study the Last Supper how have you understood it in the past?
Tuesday: –Today we will study the Passover. This is important – Jesus chooses to come to Jerusalem for the Passover. He knows as he eats this meal that he will be killed. It seems to be important to him that this event occurs in conjunction with the Passover. In I Corinthians 5:7 Paul actually calls Jesus our “paschal lamb.” Let’s see why. As you prepare to read the story of the first Passover, remember the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They were oppressed and abused. They were used to build some of Pharaoh’s great building projects. God had brought plague after plague upon the Egyptians to warn them to let the Israelites go free, but they refused. Your reading today begins with God’s commands to commemorate this event forever by sharing a meal. Then the event actually occurs – God delivers the Israelites from death and from slavery. Note the parallel – on the night before Jesus is crucified, he institutes the Eucharist telling the disciples to continue to do this “in remembrance of me.” Read Exodus 12. What are
the parallels between the Passover and Jesus’ death, between the Passover meal and the Eucharist? What are the differences? How was Jesus like the Passover lamb? How was he different? In John’s account of the Last Supper Jesus is crucified at the very hour the Passover lambs were put to death. At the Last Supper Jesus transformed the Passover Seder – he reinterpreted it – and commanded that his followers partake of this meal to commemorate and remember his death until he comes again (we’ll see the command in tomorrow’s readings). Pray and thank God for what he has done for you in Jesus Christ.
Wednesday: The earliest written account of the Lord’s Supper was not the gospels—the gospels were written after A.D. 65 – but from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Paul wrote this letter perhaps as early as the mid-50’s and he describes something that has been going on since the beginning of the church. Notice, however, that this meal, the Lord’s Supper, had digressed into something which Paul had to correct. Paul is chastising the Corinthians in this passage and then setting them straight about how the Lord’s Supper was to be celebrated. Read I Corinthians 11:17-33. Note verses 25 and 26 contain the idea of the Lord’s Supper as something which looks back, at what Jesus did in giving his life for us, but it also looks ahead to his second coming. Recall that Christians believe the Passover Seder did the same – it looked back at the deliverance of the Jews from slavery, but it also pointed ahead to what God would do in Jesus. Paul warns against eating unworthily – what do you think this means? How can you better prepare yourself for receiving the Lord’s Supper at church?
Thursday: John’s gospel is the only one to give a lengthy account of what Jesus teaches at the Last Supper. Almost one-fourth of the entire Gospel of John is devoted to recording the Last Supper and what Jesus said there. Today and tomorrow you’ll read a few of the things he said at this meal as recorded by John. These are Jesus’ final words to his friends.
Read John 13:1-17. What does this mean for you, today? Pray that you might do this.
Friday: Today we will continue our readings from John’s account of the things Jesus taught at the Last Supper. Read John 14:1-4. What does this tell us about how the disciples were feeling that night? How does this point to the future dimension of the Lord’s Supper – looking ahead and not just backwards? In the passage you are about to read Jesus is teaching about the Christian life. Read John 15:1-6 – what does it mean for the branch to remain connected to the vine? What is Jesus trying to teach us about the spiritual life? How do you “remain in him”?
Read John 15:9-17. What does he command of us? This is the greatest evidence of the Christian life. Notice Jesus calls his disciples friends – Jesus needed friends who were spiritual companions.
Do you have such friends? Are you in a small group? Who would you invite to pray for you and encourage you in your faith at your last supper?
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