If you were the key to a great mystery that had been in the works for all of human history, would you eagerly await your opportunity to reveal it? Me too.
Jesus eagerly desired the last supper with his disciples. He knew what was coming immediately after that dinner, which would have made me dread the meal, but Jesus intently anticipated it. Why?
Luke is the only Gospel writer that records Jesus feelings about the last supper. “When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.'” Luke 22:15-16
That astonishes me every time I read it.
After Jesus said these words he “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and give it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'” Luke 22:19-20
I imagine Jesus, Lord and Creator of the universe, anticipating this day for millennia, and at this dinner he was finally able to announce the New Covenant to his disciples. It was a very big deal.
The term “new covenant” is used only ten times in Scripture, and only once in the Old Testament, so Jesus’ contemporaries would have had little context for that phrase. Jesus was regularly misunderstood, because he was being seen through a frame of the Old Covenant. They thought they knew what the Messiah would do. They thought he would bring back the glory days of Jerusalem. Wrong frame. Jesus had told his disciples many times that he was going to suffer, die and rise again, but that made no sense to them. Wrong frame again.
Jesus, God with us, would die for the sins of the world, and in exchange we who follow him have no condemnation. None. God sees us through the frame of his perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
That is the best news anyone ever received.
Jesus followed his announcement of the New Covenant by saying that someone would betray him; someone who’s hand was on the table with his. Characteristically, the disciples got distracted and started discussing who that might be. They also had a dispute over who was the greatest among them.
They made no comment on Jesus’ revelation of the New Covenant.
Are we distracted by the stuff of this life while Jesus is trying to communicate something of eternal worth to us?
“But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6