Jesus and his disciples reclined at the table. So why would they recline? The Passover was a reminder each year of being released from slavery. Slaves never reclined at a meal. They stood, ready to move at the command of the slave owner. Reclining was a reminder that they had been set free. When you take a nap on a Sunday afternoon, when you lie down at night, when you choose to stand, sit, or lie down, remember that you too have been set free from the bondage, the slavery of sin.
“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 with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’ After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave 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. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!’ They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” Luke 22:14-30
The meal began. Jesus told them He so desired to share this with them. It was going to be the last until it was fulfilled.
On the Passover table there are cups of wine. One is the cup of blessing or sanctification. The second is the cup of wrath. This second cup most likely was the one Jesus referred to in Gethsemane. He knew the wrath of God was coming. The third is the cup of redemption. This cup is poured to overflowing. Isn’t that a glorious picture? Redemption is overflowing! The fourth is the cup of praise. This is the one that Jesus said He would not drink until He could drink it with us in His Kingdom. Perhaps even now that table is being prepared.
Jesus shared the wine and He shared the bread. His body was going to be broken. His blood was going to be spilled out in just a few hours.
The betrayal was set in motion. Judas left but the other disciples were arguing. Jesus was facing the most horrendous time that ever had been or ever would come again, and the disciples were arguing over which one was greater.
And Jesus told them, “Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
If you want to be great, serve.