As a memorial meal the Lord’s Supper recalls a past event — the death of Jesus for the sake of His people. Yet this sacrament is not solely an event that has a past focus; rather, there is an experience in the present and an anticipation of the future every time we partake of the bread and the wine. It is the future aspect of the Lord’s Supper that will be the focus of our study today.
Our Savior alludes to this future-oriented facet of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:18 when He tells the disciples that He will not drink of the fruit of the vine again “until the kingdom of God comes.” This presupposes a time to come when our Lord will no longer abstain from the wine. Today’s passage more clearly depicts the occasion on which Christ will again celebrate with His disciples and also provides a bit more clarity as to what it means for the kingdom to come. When our Savior’s kingdom arrives in its fullness, His disciples will judge the twelve tribes of Israel and eat and drink with Him at His table (vv. 29–30).
Of course, Scripture is filled with predictions about the coming of the kingdom. Psalm 23, for example, anticipates the coming of the Good Shepherd who will give His sheep rest and vindicate them in the midst of their enemies. Particularly relevant for our purposes today is the table prepared for God’s people (v. 5), which is doubtless on the mind of Jesus in Luke 22:28–30.
As we have seen, Christ inaugurated the kingdom of God in His death and resurrection, and so it is present among His people today. This kingdom, however, is not yet here in all its fullness. There will be a day when the Lord’s righteous rule is recognized by all creation and all His enemies are under His feet (1 Cor. 15:27–28). On that day, those whom Jesus has purchased with His blood will be presented to Him as a spotless bride, completely free from the presence of sin that continues to afflict His redeemed (Eph. 5:25–27).
This day to come, which will be celebrated at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6–9), is anticipated in the Lord’s Supper. The sacrament is a sign and seal confirming God’s pledge that this day is coming. We look forward to being in the presence of the Almighty when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.
The responsibilities laid upon us can distract us, preventing us from contemplating the future consummation of God’s kingdom. In celebrating the Lord’s Supper we are given a special opportunity to reflect on the new creation that is coming and to set our hope on Christ, who will surely bring to completion all that He has started. Let us look forward to this glorious day whenever we eat the bread and drink the wine in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.