Our church family celebrated Passover again this year. Every year, I make place cards to mark the seats of our guests. I know people don’t use place cards very often anymore but I include them for a few reasons. First, we only have a certain number of spots available. I want to make sure we don’t end up with an odd spot here or there which might require those who arrive later to sit separately. Also, I want family groups to sit together. Families are crumbling today; I feel this is a special opportunity for grandparents, parents, and children to come together in a significant way. Finally, I want to make sure I have candle centerpieces in the right places for each mom to light her candles.
It’s kind of a big job to make sure every guest has their own place card. I made a full set about five days before the dinner but all week I was pulling some out and making some new as guests either cancelled their reservations or signed up at the last minute. Even the morning of the dinner I pulled out my supplies and made 14 new cards. It’s also a lot of work to make sure the place cards are all set out in the correct spot to ensure the table is ready when guests arrive. This year, a team of four people spent about an hour making sure every guest had a spot, specially marked with their name. Only when we were confident everyone had a spot could another team go through to prepare all the elements of the Seder.
So much work went into such a small detail of our evening celebration. And yet, it’s nothing compared to the work required for you to have a place card hold your spot at another significant table.
Passover, the Seder, Last Supper, Communion; all link together to display God’s plan for our redemption. They all link together to show God’s plan to take us unto Himself as a groom does His bride.
Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples – the beginning of the fulfillment of Passover and the foundation of Christian communion – also held the signs of a Jewish betrothal. I can’t go into all of it now but I want to focus on one single aspect here.
A young Jewish man and woman were betrothed before they were married. A betrothal was similar but much more strict and binding than a modern day engagement. Two significant events mark a Jewish betrothal – the marriage contract and the drinking of a shared cup of wine. Jesus completed the signs of betrothal when He spoke over the third cup, specifically, the Cup of Redemption. “Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27-28).
You and I didn’t have the privilege of sitting at that table as did Peter, James, John, and the remaining disciples. We didn’t have the chance to look into Jesus’ eyes as we drank from the cup He passed thereby indicating our willingness to be His bride. But every time we participate in Communion, we spiritually join them at that table. Every drink of the cup of the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of our betrothal to Him.
A young Jewish man and woman completed their marriage in a second ceremony that occurred at an unknown time in the future. After a significant amount of time, the groom would return to the bride’s home to take her as his wife and be her husband. The wedding ceremony included a second cup of wine and the marriage feast.
Jesus offered the third cup to His disciples and they drank. However, that night He didn’t drink the fourth cup – the cup of Restoration. The fourth cup represented the promise to take us as His people and to be our God. Rather than drink the final cup, Jesus said, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).
Jesus completed the third cup but not the fourth. He fulfilled the process of redemption but He waits to take us as His bride and be our groom. He awaits a future table when the marriage betrothal is fulfilled over the final cup and the wedding feast.
We weren’t able to sit around the Last Supper table with the disciples but we can literally, physically sit at the table of the wedding feast. When we arrive, we can find a place card with our name on it. He will reserve a seat held only for us.
How does that happen?
“Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty has begun to reign! Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself” (Revelation 19:7).
We don’t prepare by striving to do all the right things, say all the right words, or go all the right places. We prepare by drinking the cup of redemption He holds out to us. We prepare by participating in the New Covenant He cut for us.
To drink the cup and accept the covenant means we recognize Jesus as our…
- Sacrifice who atoned for our sin
- Redeemer who paid the price to purchase us from the clutch of death
- Lamb whose blood made death to pass over us
- Groom who provides for our needs
Click here to learn more about a relationship with Jesus and how to reserve your place at the table.