Big Idea: On the night before Jesus was arrested, he celebrated the Passover meal (a traditional annual Jewish celebration) with his disciples. Passover celebrates God’s act of delivering the nation of Israel from Egyptian captivity. At this meal, Jesus showed how God’s past deliverance pointed to the ultimate deliverance that he was about to bring through his death and resurrection.
Passage: Matthew 26:17-30
- How do you experience communion? What meaning does taking communion have for you when partake of the bread and wine?
- Read Hebrews 2:14-15. What do you think it means to be a “slave to the fear of death?” How do you experience the fear of death? What good things in the present might the fear of death prevent you from doing?
- Read Exodus 2:23-25. In the ancient world, the dominant belief was that powerful people had the favor of the gods. The idea that God cared about suffering and oppressed people was brand new, and even today it can be hard for people who experience suffering to believe that God cares. Do you believe that God hears you when you’re suffering? What is it about suffering that makes God seem distant?
- Read Matthew 26:17-30. How confused do you think the disciples were that evening? What are some of the things they probably didn’t understand?
- How did Jesus reinterpret the traditional elements of the Passover meal around himself?
- For the Jewish people, the Passover meal was not celebrated just as a remembrance of what God did, but a way to actually participate in being freed from slavery. To this day, as it is celebrated, the participants are invited to experience the meal, symbolically and vicariously reliving the Exodus, where past and present merge. When we participate in communion, how would you say the past and present merge?
- What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?
- What will help you remember it?
- Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?