Main Point: Jesus wants us to remember Him.
Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you are telling of the Lord’s death until He comes again. - 1 Corinthians 11:26 NLV
Props: a small bag of silver coins (foreign money or silver dollars would be great); a family photo album; matza bread; grape juice; Optional for older students: X-ray film
Atmosphere: Set up a low table in the front of the room. Use many candles, and teach this with low lighting to get the effect of nighttime.
Say: Jesus showed His tremendous power over death when He raised His good friend Lazarus from the dead. This was HUGE! People everywhere heard that a dead man came back to life, and everyone was talking about it. Just imagine if this happened today! People would want to know all about it. The man would be interviewed on the news, and people would be looking up information about him on the Internet. Some people would doubt, and some would believe. Because Jesus raised Lazarus, MANY people put their trust and belief in Jesus.
Jesus was ready to announce that He really was the Messiah. The people shouted praises to God while spreading palm branches and coats on the ground in front of Him when He entered Jerusalem. This was their way of saying Jesus was their King.
Ask: Who can tell me how the Pharisees felt about all the people praising Jesus? Say: When the Pharisees heard the people shouting praises to Jesus, they became very jealous. Even though it was clear that Jesus was doing miraculous signs, they refused to follow Him. And they didn’t want anyone else to follow Him. They wanted everyone to depend on them. They wanted to hold onto their power and money, so they looked for a way to get rid of Jesus once and for all!
It’s amazing to see the opposite reactions that people had to Jesus: the Pharisees hated Jesus, while His disciples and followers loved Him more and more!
Say: The Pharisees and chief priests were waiting for the right time to arrest Jesus. Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples, but he was not a true believer (John 13:10). Do you remember how Satan tempted Eve to doubt God? Satan loves to deceive people by lying about God. Satan is the father of lies (), and he knew he could deceive Judas. Led by Satan, Judas went to talk to the chief priests (Luke 22:3).
(Judas) asked, “What will you give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” So they counted out 30 silver coins for him. From then on, Judas watched for the right time to hand Jesus over to them. - Matthew 26:15-16
Judas made a deal with the men who wanted to get rid of Jesus. The men paid Judas 30 silver coins, and Judas promised to lead them to where Jesus was. Teacher: Hold up your bag of silver coins, and show some of the coins. Some people estimate that the coins were worth about three months of pay. Judas betrayed Jesus. He pretended to be Jesus’ friend and follower, but he was a deceiver. He was going to lead Jesus’ enemies right to Him. What had Jesus ever done to Judas but show him love and compassion? Judas’ eyes were not on Jesus. They were on his own selfish greed.
Say: Jesus knew that His time on earth was coming to an end. He knew that very soon He would be arrested, put on trial, lied about, and killed on a cross. Jesus would allow all these things to happen because He came to be the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world. Jesus wanted to share a special meal with His disciples before these things happened. It was the Passover Feast (Matthew 26:17-19), which God had instructed His people to celebrate every year. Jesus told Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal in the upstairs room of a certain home in Jerusalem (Luke 22:10-13).
Note to Teacher: The place in which the Last Super would take place was kept a secret by Jesus. Only His two closest disciples knew the location, and only at the last minute. It is very possible that, in addition to wanting to escape the crowds, Jesus did not make the location known to the others so that Judas could not tell the chief priests where He was until after this special Passover meal. Jesus longed to share this intimate time with His disciples before His suffering. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” - Luke 22:15-16 NIV
We often call this meal “the Last Supper” because it was the last meal Jesus ate before He willingly gave up His life. During the meal, Jesus explained to His disciples all that was about to happen to Him. But they did not understand everything He was saying. Jesus told them to have this special meal again later in order to remember the sacrifice He was about to make for all people.
Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is My body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do it in memory of Me.” - Luke 22:19
Say: Jesus told the disciples that the bread should remind them of His body that would be given up for them. Teacher: Show the piece of Matzoh Bread, and explain the following symbolism:
Say: This is Matzoh, or unleavened bread. It is the type of bread that must be eaten during the Passover meal. The Jews ate this bread when they escaped from Egypt.
This bread has stripes on it. Jesus was about to be beaten, and the whippings would make STRIPES on His back. The Bible says that by Jesus’ stripes we are healed, or saved from our sin (1 Peter 2:24).
It also has holes in it. Nails were going to be forced into Jesus’ hands and feet in order for Him to hang on the cross. The Bible says that Jesus was pierced for our sins (Isaiah 53:5).
This bread is flat because there is no yeast in it. Yeast is a symbol of sin because just as yeast makes bread puff up, our sin makes us puffed up (Luke 12:1). There is no yeast in the bread that represents the body of Christ because there was no sin in Jesus.
Teacher: Show the broken bread. Say: Though none of Jesus’ bones were broken, His body was broken for us (John 19:36).
Teacher: Show a small cup of purple/red grape juice.
Say: The grape juice is not blood, but it is a reminder of Jesus’ blood that takes away our sin (Leviticus 17:11).
Then He took the cup. He gave thanks and handed it to them. He said, “All of you drink from it. This is My blood of the new covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.” - Matthew 26:27-28
The juice from the grapes was a symbol of Jesus’ blood. He said that soon His blood would be poured out. This would happen when He was beaten and nailed to the cross (Mark 15:19, John 19:34). Jesus said this would happen so that the sins of many people would be forgiven. Jesus made Himself the final, perfect sacrifice that God required to take away sin (Hebrews 10:12). Everyone who believed in Him would be saved from the punishment of his or her sin (Romans 1:16).
Jesus told His disciples that whenever they ate the bread and drank the grape juice, they must remember what He was about to do for them - and for all people. He said to remember Him with great affection (remembrance: Luke 22:19, Thayer’s Lexicon).
Additional Teaching for older students: Jesus said His blood was the blood of the NEW covenant or NEW Testament. Ask: Who can tell me what a covenant is? It is a promise. Say: When God makes a promise, it can never be broken! If this was the new promise, let’s take a look at the promise that was in effect before this, and why God needed to give a new promise.
Centuries earlier, God gave the 10 Commandments and other laws to Moses. We call this, “The Law.” It is contained in the first five books of the Bible. The Law was a reflection of God. He is perfect and holy. Therefore, the Law is also perfect. It requires God’s people to be perfect - every thought and every action to be pure. If they obeyed the Law, God would bless them, make them holy, and remain with them (Exodus 19:5, Leviticus 19:2, Exodus 40:34). Moses read the Law to the Israelites, or Jews. The people promised to obey everything God said. Moses made an animal sacrifice and said, “This is the blood that puts the covenant into effect.” (Exodus 24:7-8)
Of course, the people did NOT keep their promise. Every single person fell short. It was no surprise to God that the people could not keep the Law. Ask: Does it seem a bit mean, or cruel, for God to give a Law that His people could not follow? Listen for answers.
Say: Let’s look at it this way: Let’s say I went to the doctor for a check up. On the outside, I looked about as healthy as everyone else. The doctor poked and prodded, then took some x-rays. The doctor left the room for a while, and then came back with some X-ray films. He held one up to the light box and said, “I have some good news and some bad news.” He pointed to a spot on the film and said, “Here is a tumor. It is cancer. The bad news is that it’s deadly. The good news is, one day, I promise there will be a cure.”
Ask: Wow, how would I feel about this news? Listen for answers. Say: I would be shocked and scared, but very glad there would one day be a cure. Ask: Is the doctor mean or cruel for giving me this x-ray? No. He is just showing me what is already there, what is already true. He is good. He wants to heal me. Ask: Is the actual x-ray film a bad thing? No. It’s a great thing. It shows me that I have a big problem. Without it, I would never know I needed a cure.
Say: The Law was sort of like that x-ray, showing each Israelite that he or she had a BIG problem called sin. And sin is truly deadly. But, God promised that He would send a Cure for their sin problem. And, until that Cure came, God gave the Jews a temporary solution. God told the people to make animal sacrifices. The blood of the animals would cover their sin, but only for a while. It did NOT take away their sin. Similarly, my doctor might give me medicine that would help, but not CURE me. I would have to take bitter medicine over and over until there was a cure.
When Jesus took the cup of grape juice, or wine, He said it was a symbol of the new promise. The new promise was the CURE! The new promise did not take away the old promise; it fulfilled it. The old promise, the Law, said the people must be perfect. The new promise made them perfect. When Jesus, the Lamb of God, shed His perfect blood on the cross, He took away our sins, once and for all.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. - 1 Peter 2:24
The old promise: If you obey the perfect Law, then God will bless you, make you holy, and remain with you.
The new promise: Christ will die to take away your sin. If you believe in Him, God will make you righteous, holy, and perfect. You will have abundant life now, and live with God in heaven forever!
The old promise was good. The new promise is much BETTER!
Application: I brought one of my family photo albums. I love to look through my photo albums and remember all of the things that my family has done together – all the special times we’ve shared.
Jesus left His disciples - and us - a “picture” to remember Him by. It isn’t a picture in an album that we can look at and remember what Jesus looked like, but it is a picture to help us remember what Jesus did for us.
We still eat the bread and drink the grape juice today, and when we do, we do it to help us remember what Jesus did for us (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We call it “The Lord’s Supper,” or Communion.
Who can take Communion? Only true believers of Jesus Christ - people who have put their trust in Him to take away their sin. Many times, people follow Jesus in baptism before they take their first Communion. This is something you should discuss with your parents.
Our attitude while taking Communion is very important! It is a very serious thing to remember Jesus’ death. We should never be flippant or silly. The Bible tells us that we should take Communion in a worthy manner. Not that we’re perfect, but that we remember Jesus with great love and thankfulness (1 Corinthians 11:27-33).
Before taking communion, we should examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31). That means think about your thoughts and actions. Is there a sin that you know you keep doing? Before you take communion, confess your sins. Agree with God that the sin is wrong, and ask God to change your mind and actions.
That bread and grape juice look good. I’m hungry! Later on in the Bible, there was a group of people who took Communion just because they were hungry. They ate until they were stuffed. The Bible tells us that judgment came upon them: some became very sick, and others even died! Remember that the purpose of taking Communion is to remember what Jesus did to save us.
There are many different Christian churches, and many different ways to take communion. In some churches, people get up and walk to their Pastor to receive the bread and juice. In some churches, a big plate is passed, and each person takes a small cup of juice and a piece of bread, and then passes the plate to the next person. The tradition in our church is...(explain how the elements are taken in your church). End with: No way is better than the other. What is important is that we do this, and that we remember Jesus gave up His body and His blood to bring us back to God.
PPT KEY VERSE
Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you are telling of the Lord’s death until He comes again. - 1 Corinthians 11:26 NLT
PPT MAIN POINT
Main Point: Jesus wants us to remember Him!
Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)
Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.
Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.