And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.…
"This passover before I suffer! "It tells us, surely, that there was some connection between the passover and the suffering of Christ, and a special connection in this passover at which He and His disciples were now sitting down. Let us think of some of the reasons why the Saviour desired so earnestly to join in this last passover before He suffered.
1. One reason was, that the passover had now reached its end, and found its full meaning. The ancient covenant, which changed the slaves of Egypt into God's servants, gives place to the new, which changes his servants into His sons, and commences that golden chain, "If children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ," etc. And here, too, are the means of the redemption. The passover, which sprinkled with the blood of the covenant the door-posts in the land of Egypt, descends until its last victim dies beneath the shadow of the cross of Christ. Its efficacy is gone, for He has appeared who is to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, and to bring in an everlasting righteousness. At best it was a shadow, but now the great reality has come, "Christ our passover, sacrificed for us." It is no unconscious victim, but one who freely gives Himself, the just for the unjust, that He may bring us to God.
2. Another reason why Christ desired to be present at this passover was, for the support of His own soul in the approaching struggle. "Before I suffer!" He had a terrible conflict to meet, for which He longed, and at which He trembled. We may feel startled at the thought that the Son of God should be dependent on such aid at such a moment. And yet it is in keeping with all His history — with the whole plan of redemption. The Divine and human are inseparably interwoven in the life and work of Christ.
3. We are led naturally to this further reason — that Christ desired to be present at the last passover because His friends needed special comfort. "To eat this passover with you before I suffer." He desired to make His converse with them at this passover in the upper chamber a strength and consolation to them against the sore temptations they were to encounter. And may we not believe that Christ still prepares His people for what may be lying before them, and that He employs His comforts "to prevent" them — to go before them — in the day of their calamity. When darkness is about to fall, God has lamps to put into the hand by anticipation. He who made His ark go before His ancient people in all their wanderings, causes the consolations of His Word to smooth the way of them that look to Him. He knows what painful steps are before us in the journey of life, what privations, what bereavements — it may be that the most solemn step of all must ere long be taken — and He desires to eat this passover with us "before we suffer."
4. The last reason we give for Christ's desire to be present at this passover is, that it looked forward to all the future of His Church and people. At the close of the last passover, Christ instituted that communion of the Supper which has come down through many generations — which goes forth into all the world as the remembrance of His death and the pledge of the blessings it has purchased for us. How frail this little ark which His hand has sent out on those stormy waters, but how safely it has carried its precious freight! And this presence of His, at the first communion, looks still further — on to the period when, instead of His Spirit, we shall have Himself. He desired to take His place in person at the first communion in our world, and when the great communion opens in heaven, He shall be seen in His place once more.
(J. Ker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.