On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples. Since this was the last in a series of meals he shared with them during his ministry, it’s known as the last supper. The disciples were discouraged when Christ said he would not eat with them again until the kingdom comes (Luke 22:18). The thought of their intimate fellowship with him coming to an abrupt end filled them with sadness.
At the time, they failed to realize that even though Christ was about to depart from this world and return to his Father, they were not going to be completely cut off from fellowship with him. To the contrary, it was better for them that Christ should depart because, after his departure, he would send the Holy Spirit to abide with them forever (John 16:7).
Christ assured them that through the Holy Spirit, they would continue to enjoy the most intimate kind of fellowship with him. In the person of the Spirit, Christ himself would come to them and commune with them. That’s why, before he ascended into heaven, he said to them, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
Christ not only promised to give the disciples the Holy Spirit, he also instituted a sacred meal through which they could continue to enjoy table fellowship with him, even after his departure. This meal, which is known as the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20), was given to the church as a perpetual, sacred ordinance of public worship. Christ commanded his church to “do this”; that is, “eat this bread and drink the cup” as a regular part of public worship “until he returns” (1 Cor. 11:24–26).
Hence, on the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus not only shared a meal with his disciples (the last supper), he instituted a meal (the Lord’s Supper) as a sacrament through which he would continue to have table fellowship and communion with the saints by his Spirit.