For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
– 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
When Passover was instituted in Exodus 12, God told Moses and Aaron to observe the day as a memorial “throughout your generations as a statute forever.” It was to be observed until the new covenant promise of a different kind of Passover. The new covenant Passover, when Jesus passed over the sins of many, brought about the celebration of his death, burial, and resurrection. It brought about the triumph of mere old covenant shadows in favor of the great, eternal, unseen things to come.
Passover reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb whose limbs were not broken, but that he was more than a yearly sacrifice that needed to keep being slain. Rather, he died once for all, so that whoever believes in him will be passed over by the wrath of God that is due us because of our sin.
Jesus said in Matthew 26:28, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” That night with his disciples he was saying, “You do not need to celebrate Passover anymore. I am the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is the new covenant. From now on, when you eat together, remember my sacrifice for you. Remember the torture, the mocking, the flogging, the spitting, and the death that I endured. It is for you.”
So, today, as we reflect on the last few hours of Jesus’ life on earth, may we remember that he is the spotless Lamb of God, who was led to the slaughter for our sins. And when we come to commune together with the bread and wine, may we proclaim Christ crucified as the sacrifice that made, and will make, perfect all those who trust in his name.