FELLOWSHIP IN THE “UPPER ROOM”:
In the West we think of Jesus and His disciples sharing “the Last Supper,” including the Passover Lamb, on Thursday evening, the night before His crucifixion. But because the Jewish day started at sunset, they probably ate the sacrificed Passover lamb on the day Christ was crucified. Christ was crucified at the third hour, 9am (Jewish time in the NT is broken into two 12- hour segments = sunset to sunrise, and sunrise to sunset). Jesus died at the ninth hour, 3pm (Luke 23:44), a few hours before sunset and the beginning of the sabbath Saturday.
Therefore, there is much symbolism in the Last Supper, with the sacrificed Passover Lamb and the bread and wine. Jesus sent Peter and John into Jerusalem to prepare the Passover meal so that it could be eaten together (Mark 14:12-17). The bread was “unleavened” – it was made without yeast, symbolising the Israelites rushed last meal before the Exodus from Egypt. But “bread without yeast” also symbolised a “sinless state.” Jesus told His disciples to guard against “the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” which was their false teaching, (Mt 16:6). Jesus Christ is the sinless, true, Bread of Life.
There in the “Upper Room” Jesus broke bread with His disciples, giving thanks to the Father, and saying, “Take it and eat. This is my body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to His disciples, saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” And all the disciples drank from it (Mark 14: 12-26). Thus, the very first “Communion” or Eucharist” was shared.
In the “Upper Room” of worship we too have the privilege of sharing in the Body of Christ as His disciples. Approaching this Good Friday let us all be mindful of the price Christ paid so that we could be forever present with God.