Do This In Remembrance Of Me

by Mike Ratliff

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 ESV)

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:14-20 ESV)

I write this on Maundy Thursday. This is the traditional day that our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper. Tomorrow is Good Friday and this Sunday is Resurrection Day or Easter. Easter has become a special time for me over the last few years as God has drawn me more and more into His light. This year, at least it seems so to me, God is laying on the hearts of His people what a wonderful thing our Lord did for us on that cruel cross, enduring the Father’s wrath against our sin, even unto death. The night before this, however, He poured Himself into His disciples.

I am fully aware that the Lord’s Supper, as it has come to be called, has been abused and misinterpreted. What was Jesus really instituting when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”? This is a command. What was He commanding? Let’s take a closer look.

In v14 of Luke 22 we read that our Lord reclined at table with His apostles when the hour came. This Fall I took a class on the Jewish Festivals and Feasts. One of the things we spent a great deal of time on was what meal this was. Was this the Passover? In v15 Jesus calls it “this Passover.” Some have tried to say that Galileans celebrated Passover on Nisan 13 while Judeans did so on Nisan 14. They do this either to change the crucifixion day of Jesus to Wednesday instead of Friday or to make the crucifixion of Christ happen at the exact moment when the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed at the Temple. As I said, we spent a lot of time on this and our teacher made it clear that these views are not supportable. First, there is no “one Passover Lamb” for the nation. Every family had their own lamb which was killed at home. Also, the Galileans did not eat the Passover a day early. It was permissible to do this only with approval from the High Priest. What feast or meal is referred to in John 18:28 as Jesus is being tried?

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. (John 18:28 ESV)

The Greek word used for “Passover” here is “πασχα” or “pascha.” This is speaking of the Pesach meal called chagigah or “festival sacrifice” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, eaten with great joy and celebration on the afternoon following the Seder or Passover. These Jews did not want to have Ritual defilement so they could eat this meal that evening. If this was speaking of the Seder then this Ritual Defilement would not have kept them from it since it would only last until sundown, which is when they ate the Seder. Therefore, the meal our Lord shared with His apostles was the Seder or Passover on Nisan 14 which began at Sundown on Thursday. The Feast of Unleavened Bread began at sundown on Nisan 15. Before we go further into this text let’s take a quick look at the 7 Principle Jewish Feasts.

Passover was instituted by God through Moses as Israel began its Exodus from Egypt. It started on Nisan 14. Its theme is redemption. In the life of our Lord Jesus Christ this was fulfilled in the Upper Room where He announced His death and the New Covenant. This also began the Crucifixion sequence. Redemption was sealed.

Unleavened Bread was instituted along with Passover at the beginning of the Exodus. It is celebrated on Nisan 15. Its theme is sanctification. It was fulfilled in Christ’s Crucifixion and burial. Leaven represents sin. Redemption removes this leaven from those who are redeemed.

Early Firstfruits began on Nisan 17. Its theme is Resurrection. It was fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection. Jesus became the Firstfruits of the Resurrection.

Feast of Weeks began on Sivan 6. It is also called Pentecost because it began 7 weeks after after Passover. Its theme is revival and revelation. This was when the Holy Spirit came to the Church and God’s Word could be understood by those indwelt by Him, hence revelation.

Day of Trumpets is celebrated on Tishri 1. This is also called Rosh HaShanah. Its theme is regathering. This feast has not yet been fulfilled. This is the day that God’s people will be rejoined with their Saviour.

Day of Atonement is celebrated on Tishri 10. Its theme is regeneration. This was partially fulfilled when Christ was tested by Satan and began His ministry. It will be fulfilled in the future during the Last Judgment.

Tabernacles is celebrated on Tishri 15. Its theme is rejoicing. It was fulfilled in the past with our Lord’s birth on the first day and His circumcision on the last. The Son became a man and tabernacled with men.

Now, let us return to the text (Luke 22:14-20). We now know that our Lord is eating the Seder with His Apostles on Thursday evening which is Nisan 14. In v15 our Lord tells them that He has desired fervently to eat this Seder with them before He suffered. Compare this verse with John 13:1.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 ESV)

Our Lord loved His Apostles and this night He is preparing them for what is coming. We see here that He knows about the suffering. Let us ask a very important question here. Did Christ suffer to redeem His people or did He die to redeem them. My Brethren, the penalty was paid on the Cross. The theme of Passover is redemption. This means that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. If Christ only suffered for them then their sins are not paid for and they could still sin and lose their salvation. Do you see how crucial this is? No, our Lord loves His people and the work He did on the Cross defeated our enemy and all who are redeemed are redeemed for eternity.

In v16 our Lord says that He will not eat the Passover again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. What does this mean? When was it fulfilled? It was fulfilled at the Cross. This is why He commands us to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. When we do this as we reflect on our eternal salvation we should see the cup and the bread and remember what it cost our Lord to purchase us for His own. When we take the cup and the bread we are participating in this this supper with our Lord.

The Seder involved the sharing of 4 cups of wine. Luke mentions two cups, v17 and v20. The cup in v17 was the first of the 4. It is called the cup of thanksgiving by the Jews. It was preliminary to the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It represented the end of His time of eating and drinking with His apostles.

In vv19-20 we have the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord took the unleavened bread, which is similar to peta bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He took the pieces and distributed them to the Apostles. He said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The Apostles could see that Jesus’ body was still alive and right before their eyes. They knew what He meant that the bread represented His body. This is metamorphical language, which was a typical Hebraism. Then our Lord gave the command to do this in remembrance of Him. Through this the Lord’s Supper became an ordinance for worship in the Church (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). When we partake of the Lord’s Supper it is imperative that we look back in remembrance at His atoning death on the cross.

In v20 our Lord took the 3rd cup of the 4 cups from the Seder, which is the cup of blessing. He then told them that this cup is the new covenant in His blood, which is shed for the Church.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Corinthians 11:23-30 ESV)

The bread is a true sign and an assured testimony that the body of Jesus Christ is given for the nourishment of our souls. Likewise, the wine signifies that His blood is our drink to refresh and quicken us everlastingly. The cup from v20 is the sign of the New Covenant which is established and ratified by Christ’s blood. – From the Geneva Bible notes for Luke 22:19-20 (I modernized the spelling a bit. 🙂 )

As we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, let us not forget that the Feasts that were instituted as part of the Old Covenant all pointed to this New Covenant sealed in our Lord’s blood. Also, let us not take for granted our salvation purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb of God.


18 thoughts on “Do This In Remembrance Of Me

  1. No one can imagine the anxiety that our Lord must have felt on Friday night in preparation for the cross. And yet God’s own words call it the “joy” that was set before. Our wonderful Savior did not get dragged kicking and screaming to that cross, he embraced it, he carried it, He even prophesied it.

    And while on that cross He thought of us. He thought of His mother. He thought of the thief. He even thought of the Romans. Why He ever thought of me will always be a personal mystery. Of course I never deserved redemption, but He knew how often I would fail Him AFTER I was born again.

    And yet He despised the shame for me while knowing I would sometimes reject the shame for Him. It is good that we take a special time to deeply meditate upon His gospel narrative, making it personal against a world wide backdrop, and humbly bow and worship.

    He alone is worthy…forever.


  2. Mike, thank you for this explanation. I had been wondering about the feasts and the timing of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. There is much confusion out there. I am looking forward to Resurrection Sunday, as we are having Communion. He is risen!!


  3. Amen Rick!

    Nisan 14 begins on Thursday at sunset and runs through Friday to sunset. Jesus prepared his disciples for what was coming on Thursday night and was crucified on Friday morning. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was on Nisan 15 which began at Sunset on Friday and ran through Saturday until sunset. The meal the Jews were wanting to eat without defilement wasn’t the Passover which was at night, but the meal of Unleavened bread which was eaten prior to sunset on Friday.

    In any case, yes, He despised the shame and He became the firstfruits of the New Covenant sealed with His blood. Amen! This is why we should be in awe of what we posses in our salvation. Do any of us deserve for God to do this for them?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  4. Amen, I sure don’t deserve Jesus even getting a scratch on His precious body for me. Did anyone ever listen to Tabitha Pimlott sing “We Exalt Thee” on You Tube? It’ so beautiful ! sniff


  5. When I was about 8 years old I asked my mother why they called it “Good” Friday. She replied because it is the day Jesus died for us.

    In light of that I am calling it Great Friday.


  6. I agree with Carrie, thank you for the explanation of the feasts. We take Communion so lightly sometimes, at times skipping over the “examine yourself” preparation to take of the Body and the Blood. Mike, could you explain Matthew 12:20, where Jesus Himself says “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”


  7. Luann here Mike. Paul has the flu 😦 He was up all night. We studied about the above article and found it so interesting. You have a blessed Easter and thank you for such a wonderful post.


  8. Luann,

    I pray for the Lord to heal Paul of this, to bring Him through it ok. You are welcome for the post. I was wondering when I was going to be able to use my notes from class. 🙂

    You have a great and blessed Easter as well.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  9. I have wondered about the days – that how can Matthew 12:40 (For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth) be correct if Jesus died on Friday?

    One theory, and I haven’t done ANY research on it to know if others have thought of this, had it proved false, etc. is the Passover always on the Sabbath/Saturday? Or might it be a different day, say Friday, due to whatever calendar sorts of things, such that there were two such Sabbath days, one “high holy” day, and one regular Sabbath?

    That clears things up if that works, but I haven’t heard anyone else talk about it.


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