The first Lord’s Supper was a Passover meal, the meal that, according to the Mosaic law, God’s people should celebrate annually as a reminder that God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt. This was the great act of redemption that initiated God’s covenant with Israel through Moses (Ex. 19:4–6). The Lord’s Supper redefined the Passover meal as a celebration of God’s second and greatest act of redemption, through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. Christ’s death atoned for the sins of God’s people up to the time of his coming (Rom. 3:25), and the sins of all those who would trust him for salvation since his coming (Rom. 3:26).
Because Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing, his willing sacrifice allowed God both to forgive sinners of their transgressions and to remain just even as he did this (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 3:21–26; 4:25; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 3:18). Jesus’ death, then, established a new covenant between God and his people, a covenant whose central focus was the forgiveness of sins and a right relationship with God (Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6, 11; see also Jer. 31:31–34).
For believers, God’s establishment of this new covenant of forgiveness and acquittal from sin should result in a joyful freedom from sin’s destructive influence. “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” for us, says Paul. “Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7–8; see also Ex. 12:1–28). In the gospel, we have been freed!
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.