FEASTING ON FORGIVENESS: A Look at Matthew 26:26-29

cup and crown Lord's supper

“…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:28 (ESV)

FEASTING ON FORGIVENESS: A LOOK AT MATTHEW 26:26-29

READ

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29 ESV

ENGAGE

Against the backdrop of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus prepared to eat the annual Passover meal with His disciples. This celebratory meal recalled God’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian slavery during the first Passover (Exodus 12). 

On that eventful night, the enslaved Israelites painted their doorposts with blood from a spotless-year-old ram, marking the home as belonging to God’s people. The destroying angel would pass over their homes, sparing firstborn males from the death plague the Egyptians would experience. God then led His people, fortified by a meal of roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread, out of bondage and into freedom through the Red Sea.

After the Israelite’s miraculous rescue, God made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai. He would be their God, and they, His people. God sealed this new covenant promise with blood. “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:8). But it would be a covenant the people could not keep. God’s people needed a better one, foreshadowed in the once-a-year replay of the Passover meal.

When Jesus blessed the broken bread in His hands and spoke unusual words, the disciples knew this meal differed from others: “Take, eat; this is my body.” He then grasped the cup and gave thanks. “Drink of it, all of you, for this, is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

These prophecy-fulfilling words likely confused the disciples. They did not comprehend the covenant of forgiveness predicted by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:34b) or God’s true Lamb that, through His death, would take away the world’s sin, as John the Baptist proclaimed (1 John 1:29). A new covenant was on the horizon, forged with forgetful forgiveness, unlike the one given through Moses at Mount Sinai.

God’s promise and provision of rescue always involve blood. This new and better covenant would be no different. On Calvary, God would free people from a different kind of slavery—bondage to sin. The holy Lamb of God, Jesus, would seal this covenant with His own broken body and shed blood once and for all—a feast of forgiveness for all who believed. 

Who is worthy to partake of this feast? The answer: all who need the forgiveness of sin

One might list Judas-the betrayer, the denying disciples, or the thief who died beside Jesus on the cross. But Romans 3:23 states, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All are betrayers of God, and their hunger and thirst for His righteousness is always welcome at His table.

Against the backdrop of our betrayal, we consume the Lord’s Supper, revealing an unceasing need for God’s gracious provision. This special meal is not a memorial of death, but a feast of life-giving forgiveness meant to remind the diner of their eternal destiny in Christ. Through this life-sustaining meal, our Passover Lamb marks us with covenant blood and calls us His own.

REFLECT

When ingratitude invades my soul, I know my heart has turned away from God. For me, this red flag means it’s time to take inventory of my relational rhythms by checking my spiritual pulse with a few reflective questions to help reorient my heart to God again.

  • Am I quick to judge others and slow to see my sin? 
  • Have I stopped talking to God? 
  • Did I cease meeting Him in His Word? 
  • Am I resistant to gathering regularly with other believers? 
  • Do I believe if I confess my sin, God will forgive it? (1 John 1:9

My soul never needs less of Jesus or His forgiveness. Being aware of common red flags on my spiritual journey helps lead me through repentance back to God.

What symptoms invade your life, alerting you to a need to feast again on God’s forgiveness? Share in the comment section below.

PRAY

Gracious Lord,

Thank You for the feast of forgiveness You’ve prepared for us. Your mercy and grace are abundant, and we are grateful that You have made a way for us to be reconciled to You. May your mercy fill every corner of our being, bringing healing, restoration, and freedom from guilt and shame.

Empower us to live as forgiven people. May Your forgiveness shape our attitudes, actions, and relationships. Help us to walk in humility, recognizing that we are recipients of Your grace. Teach us to extend forgiveness to others, just as You have forgiven us. We rejoice in Your unending love and mercy.

In the precious name of Jesus, we pray.

Amen.

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