Here’s something that always puzzled me: why, at His last Seder, did Jesus say that He wouldn’t drink wine again? (Matthew 26:26) It always seemed significant. After all, He did say it and it was important enough to be remembered and recorded. But what it meant was beyond my grasp. So I did what most of us do when we read something in scripture that we don’t quite understand – we move on.
But today, I’m asking you to pause for a moment. Come with me as I join Jesus and the disciples in the Upper room. But be warned, my imagination often gets away from me.
So here we are in the Upper room. Jesus has just said the blessing over the wine and told us it is His blood. So far, so good. Not a happy moment, but one that is necessary. But here’s where things get strange.
Jesus looks me right in the eyes and says, “I tell you, I will not drink this fruit of the vine again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom”.
I nod my head with that blank look on my face, much like the village idiot. Glancing from one disciple to the other, I see them waiting for the light to dawn. I continue to nod, feeling dumber by the minute. Finally I mutter, “Okay then” as I proceed to exit stage left – hoping to find some morsel of information I canunderstand.
Can you hear the canned laughter as Jesus looks to heaven; like a parent with an incorrigible child?
Had I searched the scriptures diligently, I would have discovered what Jesus was saying. In Leviticus 10:9 the Lord instructs the priests not to drink wine when they are coming into the tent of meeting. Remember, the tent of meeting is the sanctuary. And the Lord instructed Moses to build it after the pattern of the one in heaven.
So you see, Jesus really was making a bold statement, and it went right over my head. He told His disciples (and that includes us) that He was about to enter the heavenly sanctuary to minister before the Lord as high priest.
NOW I get it!