"When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'" Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, 'Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes'" (Luke 22:14-18).
In the evening, Jesus and His apostles went to the upper room that had been prepared and they sat down together (cf. Matt. 26:20). "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). The wording here conveys the intense desire that Jesus had to share in this feast with them before His crucifixion. Why did He have such a great desire? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the Passover commemorated a great deliverance from death through the sacrifice of a lamb, and the real sacrifice and deliverance of which it foreshadowed was near to being fulfilled. Jesus' time was "at hand" (Matt. 26:18); His earthly ministry was nearing its completion.
"For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16). Jesus is here referring to the food of the Passover meal. Literally, He would never eat of it again, but there is a certain spiritual sense in which He and we share in the Passover today in His kingdom. We "keep the feast" symbolically when we serve "Christ, our Passover," in "sincerity and truth" as the one who was "sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7,8).
"Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, 'Take this and divide it among yourselves'" (Luke 22:17). Jesus is here referring to the drink of the Passover meal. He is not referring to the Lord's Supper memorial, which He will establish in 22:19,20. There are some parallels between the two memorials, but they are distinct, as can be seen even in this text. The strongest parallel is that both point to Jesus as the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to make deliverance from sin possible--the Passover points forward to the cross and the Lord's Supper memorial points backward to it. It is likely that dividing the cup among themselves involved passing around the container which held the fruit of the vine and allowing each one to pour some out into his drinking vessel. Jesus declared in Luke 22:18 - "For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." Here is a clear declaration that the kingdom had not yet come.
Luke 22:24-30 records:
"Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called "benefactors." But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink of My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'"
Unfortunately, the fact that the apostles were still disputing who was the greatest among them indicates that they had not yet understood that the nature of Jesus' kingdom would be spiritual, not physical. Jesus' comment about His time being "at hand" (Matt. 26:18) may have reignited their long-running debate. In the kingdom of Christ, it is not the office or position that makes one great, but rather the service one performs on behalf of others. True spiritual greatness is in proportion to service rendered (and the Lord's own example clearly demonstrated this)! Jesus didn't want the standard of greatness for His followers to be authority, as it was with the Gentiles.
Jesus said to His faithful apostles in Luke 22:30 - "That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom." These words refer to the ancient custom of a king bestowing honor and distinction on certain ones by inviting them to eat and drink with him at his table (e.g., II Sam. 9:7; 19:28). These men would also "sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (cf. Matt. 19:28). Through their inspired writings, which we have today in the New Testament, Jesus' apostles exercise authority and judgment (cf. John 12:48).