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5. The Passover

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Scripture Reference:

Matthew 26:17-35

See also Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20 and John 13:1-38

Key Verse:

1 Corinthians 11:24-26 (NET)

“and after 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, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.’”

1. Read the Passage

Read Matthew 26:17-35

Dig deeper

If time allows, read this account in all four of the Gospels.

2. Observe the actions and attitude of Jesus

In the space below, record the actions and attitude of Jesus. Remember to ask who, what, when, where, why and how.

Dig deeper

Read about the first Passover Meal in Exodus 12.

3. Understand the culture

For the Hebrew people, the evening meal was the most important meal of the day. They would come in after a hard day’s work and relax with their family. This particular meal was even more significant in that this Passover meal was celebrated each year as the Jewish people remembered how God spared them and saved them from bondage in Egypt.

This meal involved unleavened bread and four cups of wine.i

    • The first cup, at the beginning, is called ‘Kaddish’ which means ‘to sanctify.’

    • The second cup is the cup of remembrance celebrating what God has already done.

    • The third cup of the meal is the one Jesus held up and stated: “this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” This cup is called the cup of salvation.

    • After drinking the fourth cup, at the very end, one would say ‘next year in Jerusalem.’ Note that Jesus did not drink this 4th cup. Instead He said ‘I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

It is from this Passover Meal that we celebrate the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus modeled it for us.

4. Observe the response of the Disciples

Notice the disciples did just as Jesus requested. This was an important meal they were about to observe. When Jesus told them one of them was to betray Him, they were very sad (v.22). None of them could believe that they could be the one. Why did Judas betray Jesus? We can only speculate. As a family, discuss reasons why you think Judas may have betrayed Jesus?

Some have suggested the following:

    1. Money – perhaps, but he was already helping himself to the disciples’ money (John 12:6) and what they paid him to betray Jesus was not much. Maybe?

    2. Some think that perhaps Judas thought his betrayal of Jesus would force Jesus to assert His true power and authority and overthrow the Romans.

    3. Some have suggested that perhaps Judas thought Jesus was a false Messiah and the true Messiah was yet to come.

    4. Still others thought that perhaps Judas was upset about Jesus’ seemingly causal attitude towards the Law.

We don’t know why he did it, only that he did. Would God have forgiven him had he asked for forgiveness? Absolutely! Sadly, however, Judas, remorseful over his actions, chose to end his life instead (John 27:1-10).

5. Your Response

Jesus was speaking symbolically when He raised the cup and the bread. Verse 27 tells us that Jesus gave thanks for the cup and offered it to the disciples and said: “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus knew He was about to die and that His blood would be shed. He also knew why it had to be this way. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 9:22 that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.’

Jesus extends the same offer to you. Believe in Him, acknowledge your sin and accept His forgiveness. It is only though Jesus and the sacrifice He made that we can live eternally.

If you have already accepted His forgiveness, now would be a good time to take an attitude check. Are you like Judas, possibly wanting to force Jesus’ hand on something. I remind you God has your best interest at heart. What part of your life are you still holding on to unwilling to trust Him with it? Let it go. Trust Him. He is sovereign and He knows best. He can and will handle all things better than we ever could.

6. Family Activity

As a family, make some Unleavened Bread as a reminder of all Christ did for us.

You will need the following:

1 cup whole wheat flour

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cumin or coriander

½ cup water

Mix the ingredients together onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for a total of 5 minutes. Divide the dough into three balls and flatten each ball into a circle. Have an adult fry the rounds of dough on a hot skillet (the skillets should be hot enough that a drop of water dances on the surface.) Set the hot bread on paper towels to cool.


Yeast was not used in the Passover meal because the Israelites had to be ready to go in a moments notice and they did not have time to wait for the bread dough to rise. To this day, unleavened bread is used when observing the Passover meal.

At the Passover meal, the bread is eaten with bitter herbs as a reminder of the bitter hardships the Jews suffered when they were slaves in Egypt. Try spreading some horseradish sauce on the unleavened bread then enjoy your children’s reactions when they taste it!

For a sweeter taste, try serving the unleavened bread with a bit of honey and enjoy it with a drink of grape juice. Encourage your children to share God’s goodness with one another.

If time permits, have an adult in the family lead in the observance of the Lord’s Supper with the family. At the conclusion of the observance, lead your family in prayer remembering to thank God for loving us enough to send His only Son to earth so that we might know God through Him. Thank Him for the sacrifice He made on the cross so we could have eternal life.

Related Topics: Easter, Children

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