The Past and the Future
“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (vv. 28–30).- Luke 22:14–30
Remembrance of the past is a central component of the Lord’s Supper. It is not the only thing that happens when we eat the bread and drink the wine, but it is a key part of the sacrament nonetheless. As we have seen, the Lord’s Supper was instituted at a Passover meal where the remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery was essential to the feast. Yet as Jesus changed the Passover liturgy to have the Lord’s Supper reference His death (Luke 22:19–20), we see that for believers, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper not only echoes the first Passover and its deliverance but, more importantly, it commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. For us, of course, His death is a past event, so in the Lord’s Supper we look back on the atonement and resurrection every time we gather at the Lord’s Table.
In addition to having reference to the past, the Scriptures explain that the Lord’s Supper has a future orientation as well. We see elements of that future orientation in today’s passage. In Luke 22:14–16, we read of how Jesus told His disciples that the Last Supper was His final drinking of the Passover cup until He drinks it anew in its fulfillment in the kingdom of God. Verses 28–30 also hint at a future aspect to the Lord’s Supper, for in that portion of Luke 22, Jesus speaks of the disciples’ eating and drinking at the Lord’s Table as they sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. That feast was yet future for the disciples, and it remains yet future for us. After all, passages such as 2 Timothy 2:12 promise believers that they will likewise reign with Christ when the kingdom of God is finally consummated in all its fullness.
Revelation 19:6–10 gives us perhaps the clearest reference to the future feast in the consummation of Christ’s kingdom. As we see in this text, there is a “marriage supper of the Lamb” to come in which we will celebrate the wedding of the bride to the bridegroom. Our Savior is working to cleanse His bride, the church, and present her without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27–33). He is doing that now as He sanctifies us, but that work will one day be completed and we will be perfect in holiness in the world to come. We will be glorified and freed from sin in heaven, and our physical bodies will finally be resurrected and glorified in the same way. Then, at the final day, our souls and bodies will be reunited and we will live in purity forever in the new heaven and earth (Rev. 21).
The Lord’s Supper reminds God’s people of Christ’s atonement, which gives them the right to participate in the great feast that will occur when Christ returns to consummate His kingdom. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, let us look forward to that feast. On that day, we will be fully satisfied and enjoy the presence of our God forever.
Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 11:26