It started with a meal, a much anticipated gathering in which Jesus would share important parting words with his most faithful companions. As Jesus tried to prepare them for what was about to transpire, they squabble about who would be the greatest. Then they head into the night where Jesus would anguish in prayer over what would happen next. As He had earlier predicted, Jesus would be betrayed and arrested, denied by one of his close confidants, and cruelly mocked and beaten. When morning finally dawns, the Council, the Chief priests and Teachers of the law bring Jesus before them for questioning.
That dinner shared, before these events of that night unfold, was the Passover meal. Passover was a celebration of the exodus hundreds of years before. The Israelites living as slaves under the rule of the Pharaoh cried out to God, and He heard them, raising up Moses to demand their release and lead them to freedom. But Pharaoh was a hard-hearted man; he wasn't the sort to let Israel's God defeat him.
Warning after warning, plague after plague, he would dig in his heels and refuse to let the Israelites go free. Until that final plague when any firstborn son whose door post was not marked with the blood of a Passover lamb would give his life. That's what it took for Pharaoh to release the Israelites. They would remember and celebrate this salvation with the Passover Festival each year.
It was during this meal of remembrance that Jesus reinterpreted the bread and the wine. He would give His body and blood, His own life, that we could be saved from a far greater enemy than Pharaoh ever was and freed from a greater slavery to sin and death from which we are powerless to save ourselves.
One commentator puts it this way "Just as the blood of the slaughtered lamb in the exodus offered protection from the plague on the firstborn, so now the blood of Jesus shelters his people from the awful and fearsome consequences of their sin. God's judgment does not fall on the one who is protected by the 'blood of the Lamb.'" Jesus showed the disciples that His body was about to be broken, and his blood spilled. For them. For us. Jesus revealed that the New Covenant would be inaugurated by His death. All this in the moments before it would all seemingly go awry.
Luke shows us, though, that this was not one of those nights where everything goes all wrong. From preparation to predictions, Luke shows us that Jesus was in control all along. This was the very reason Jesus had come to the world, "the Son of man must go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him" v 22.
Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, He knew that Peter would deny Him, He knew that the crucifixion was before Him. This is what Jesus would willing walk to secure our forgiveness, our freedom. It was His plan to serve humanity to the point of death, so He could free us from the sin that holds us captive, and welcome us into His Kingdom! If we actively trust Jesus has accomplished what He said He would, we can greatly anticipate sharing another meal with Him when He returns (Rev. 19:6-9)!