JN Darby on the Passover – The Last Supper

The Lord had finished His discourses. He prepares to suffer, and to make His last and touching farewells to His disciples, at the table of His last Passover on earth, at which He instituted, the simple and precious memorial which recalls His sufferings and His love. This part of our Gospel needs to be felt rather than explained.

When I see the Blood

The Passover is the first in our series of JND on Selected Subjects


Notes from Darby’s Writings


The Lord had finished His discourses. He prepares to suffer, and to make His last and touching farewells to His disciples, at the table of His last Passover on earth, at which He instituted, the simple and precious memorial which recalls His sufferings and His love. This part of our Gospel needs to be felt rather than explained.

With what simplicity the Lord announces that which was to happen!  He already arrived at Bethany, six days before the Passover (John 12:1): there He abode, with the exception of the last supper, until He was taken captive in the garden of Gethsemane, although He visited Jerusalem, and partook of His last meal there.

He then points out that it is the slain Saviour slain who is to be remembered. His pathway as the living Messiah was over. It was no longer the remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. Christ, and Christ slain, began an entirely new order of things.  He draws the disciples’ attention to the blood of the new covenant, saying that it was ‘shed for many.’ – i.e. Jew and Gentile.  It was shed for the remission of sins.


JND Synopsis Matthew 26


The scribes and Pharisees were already consulting how they might take Him by craft and put Him to death. They feared the influence of the people, who admired the works and goodness and meekness of Jesus. Therefore they wished to avoid taking Him at the time of the feast, when the multitude flocked to Jerusalem: but God had other purposes. Jesus was to be our Paschal Lamb, blessed Lord! and He offers Himself as the victim of propitiation.

But the time drew near for the last feast of the Passover that took place during the life of Jesus, the one in which He was Himself to be the Lamb.  The memorial to faith was that of Himself and of His work. He therefore sends His disciples to prepare all that was needed to keep the feast. In the evening He sits with His disciples, to converse with them, and to testify His love for them as their companion, for the last time. But it is to tell them (for He must suffer everything) that one of them should betray Him.


It was Himself, His sacrifice, not a temporal deliverance, that they were to remember. All was now absorbed in Him, and in Him dying on the cross. Afterwards, in giving them the cup, He lays the foundation of the new covenant in His blood (in a figure), giving it to them as participation in His death. When they had all drunk of it, He announces to them that it is the seal of the new covenant a thing well known to the Jews, according to Jeremiah; adding that it was shed for many. Death was to come in for the establishment of the new covenant, and for the ransom of many.  Death was necessary, and the bonds of earthly association between Jesus and His disciples were dissolved


JND Synopsis Mark 14


The chief priests, fearing the people, seek how they may kill Him. The day of Passover comes, and the Lord shows the character of the gospel.  Thus He desired to eat this last Passover with His disciples, because He would eat of it  no more until the future kingdom s – His death came first.   Now we enjoy the kingdom as it is now, not the millennium.  Observe also what a touching expression of love we have here: His heart needed this last testimony of affection before leaving them.

The new covenant is founded on the blood here drunk in figure. The old was done away. Blood was required to establish the new. At the same time the covenant itself was not established; but everything was done on God’s part. The blood was not shed to give force to a covenant of judgment like the first; it was shed for those who received Jesus, while waiting for the time when the covenant itself should be established with Israel in grace.


JND Synopsis Luke 22


They were all at the table together, and the Lord Jesus, full of love, looked upon His disciples.  He felt deeply the fact that one of them who had lived in His holy presence should betray Him.  He proved their hearts – ‘Lord, is it I?’ (Matthew 26:22) – to bring to light that which was within.

Now the Lord institutes the supper, a precious sign and memorial of His love and of His death. Up to that time, the Passover had been the commemoration of the deliverance of the people out of the captivity in Egypt, when the blood of the Lamb was put upon the doors of the houses where the Israelites were. Now the blood of a more excellent Lamb has been sprinkled upon the mercy-seat in heaven, before the eye of God; when Christ, the Lamb of God, accomplished everything for the glory of God and for the salvation of all believers.  Without shedding of blood there is no remission.  The work has been done: in the sacrifice of the cross Jesus drank the cup of malediction and cannot drink it again; He perfectly glorified God about sin.  He bore the sins of many, and can never bear them again; He cannot offer Himself again, He is for ever seated at the right hand of God; Hebrews 9: 24-26. He would have had to suffer often, if His one offering upon the cross had not taken away for ever all the sins of all believers.  The Lord said, ‘This is my body … do this in remembrance of me’ (See Matt 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24).

JND Collected Writings Volume 24 (Expository 3) p319 on Mark  14


In Luke’s account of the Passover (ch. 22), we have the sign of the passing away of the old system, and the bringing in of the new.  As a token of affection , He eats with His disciples for the last time.  He does not take the Passover cup at all and will not do so until the Kingdom of God comes.  They were to divide this token of fellowship and communion in joy among themselves.   Then He institutes the new thing in His body broken, the remembrance of a new and better deliverance, and the Cross the new covenant in His blood. Notes & Comments vol. 5 p 90

Note on the Sacraments

The Lord distinguishes in Luke 22 between the Paschal Lamb and the wine, and both from the institution of the memorial of His deliverance of His people by death.  He desired to eat the Passover, but He did not partake of the wine. In partaking of the Passover, it was the last and deep testimony of God’s faithful love to Israel as His people delivered from Egypt, and the Saviour’s entering, in the fullest individual way, into all the feelings of a ransomed Jew before God, the feelings and interests of the people as such.  He felt for and with Israel, and that as one of themselves, too, until by His rejection they stood on other ground, and divine favour passed into another scene by the resurrection, and He became the Substitute, Himself the true Paschal Lamb. They rejecting their own mercies, their history, as so received, ended in His death. . . .


Notes & Comments vol. 5 p 309

Note on  Luke 22

The time was not yet come for the Lord to enjoy the position as Head of the earthly people. He humbly, and full of grace, ate the Passover with them before He suffered, and passed from recognising the Jewish goodness of the Lord, into the suffering which became Him who should glorify God.  He could not take the joy of the kingdom. They were to take what would have been the sign of it now as the symbol and memorial of His death — that was the basis of all true joy, the need which the state of things, of men, of God’s people occasioned — then suffer with Him, but afterwards they would find again their place with Messiah as Head of God’s people, the twelve tribes of Israel. Notes & Comments vol. 5 p 319

Note on  Luke 22

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Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.