CHRIST'S LOVING WORDS AT HIS LAST SUPPER AND ON THE CROSS By James Grant, Year 1877
James Grant was a friend of Charles H. Spurgeon. The following is taken from his book, written in 1877, entitled, Meditations On The Loving Words of Our Loving Lord and Savior. We pray the Lord will bless you as you read.
THE next meeting which our Lord had with His apostles, after that described in the four chapters of John's Gospel which I have brought under notice, was the one at which He instituted the Sacrament, which is called the " Lord's Supper." That was to be the last (full) meal of which He was to partake with His disciples. To Him it must have possessed a specially- solemn and intense interest. At their first sitting down to the table, it is evident they did not know that it was destined to be the last occasion on which they would eat and drink with their Lord and Master on earth; but they had not proceeded far in partaking of their meal, when, as we are told by Luke, "He said unto them (His apostles), with desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." On this solemn and deeply touching occasion, we see the same tender affection for His apostles that filled our Lord's bosom, which we have discerned in the various words of His to which I have called attention in preceding pages:â€” "With desire have I desired to eat with you this passover before I suffer." He was on the eve of His death, yet His affections were still supremely centred on eleven of His apostles. It was not a simple or common desire that our Lord at this time felt to eat this passover with His apostles, but an intense desire. In the marginal reading of the New Testament, it will be found that the rendering of the words is, "With earnest desire have I desired to eat the passover with you." Bishop Pearcy says, in relation to the phrase in question, "This is a Hebrew phrase, signifying, 'I have very much desired.'" The meaning which Grotius attaches to the words of our Lord, is expressed in this remark, "The reason of our Lord's anxiety to eat this passover with His twelve apostles, may probably have been His wish to initiate the ceremony of the Lord's Supper." But be this as it may, one thing is certain,â€”that this, in a sense, was the last act of our Lord in His intercourse with His apostles.
One illustration of His tender affection for them was given in the words which followed those-- "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," which our Lord addressed to His apostles when He broke the bread and gave it to them.
"Do this," He said, "in remembrance of Me." That was the end for which He instituted the Sacrament of the Supper. He wished to perpetuate until the sound of the last trumpet, the remembrance of His sufferings and death on behalf of all who should believe in Him till the end of time. This is the duty, and ought to be the delight of every true disciple of Christ, at all times, and under all circumstances; but, alas! it is a duty too much neglected. What believer in Christ does not, with sincere sorrow of soul, confess his short-comings in this respect? But not only are all Christians laid under the most solemn obligations to remember in their individual capacity our Lord in relation to His sufferings and death, but they are bound, at stated periods, in their capacity as members of a Christian Church to commemorate the close of our Saviour's life, by sitting down at His table. And what a high and holy privilege every real Christian finds to be his commemoration of the sufferings and death of Christ in communion with His fellow believers in Him, in obedience to His command, "Do this in remembrance of Me."
The Saviour's last words on this occasion, addressed to His apostles, were emphatically "Loving Words." They were words of love and commendation. He had, with the one awful exceptionâ€”I refer to that of Judas,â€”words of praise for their fidelity to Him: "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me; that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." These were remarkable words, addressed to His disciples generally, for they were not intended to be confined to our Lord's apostles. And when it is remembered that a few moments before the words in question were addressed to His apostles, the latter were having great strife among them-selves, as to which of them should be greatest in the kingdom, who can fail to be profoundly affected by such a display of the loving kindness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?
I must make two more references to the "Loving Words of our Loving Lord and Saviour," which He spake while in this world. When the officers of the chief priests went to our Lord to arrest Him, He asked them "Whom seek ye?" And when they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth," He answered, "I have told you that I am He; if, therefore, ye seek Me, let these (His disciples) go their way." I know not any combination of words that could be made which could, under the special circumstances in which they were spoken, more fully unfold the loving heart of our Lord. Still unmindful of Himself in all the agonies and all the humiliations which He was on the eve of passing through, His thoughts and affections-- were centred on His disciples! Oh, most wondrous fact! Oh, the intensity of our Saviour's affection for His disciples! How true what is elsewhere said, "Whom He loveth, He loveth to the end." And as our Lord's lips spoke nothing, but as emanating from His loving heart, so His last words in life were prayers to His Father that the very persons who crucified Him should receive the pardon of their sins, and the consequent salvation of their souls. "Father," was His last prayer, "forgive them, for they know not what they do." That prayer was doubtless answered; and those, who crucified Him, pardoned: for we have His own word for it, that He knew that His Father heard Him always. There was yet one more "Loving Word " which our Saviour spoke when on the Cross. It was in answer to the prayer of one of the two thieves who were crucified with Him, that Christ would remember him when He came into His kingdom. Our Lord responded to that prayer of the thief in these loving and blessed word-- "Verily, I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise."
What a blessed and loving end to the loving life which our Lord and Saviour led when on earth!