And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. (Luke 22:14–23)
If there had been no upper room, if there had been no fulfillment of the promises of the Passover, and if Jesus were not the final Passover Lamb, we would simply have no hope in this life or the one to come. It is impossible to overstate the importance of Jesus saying these profound words: “This is my body, which is given for you” and “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Here is Jesus, in that intimate final night with his disciples, saying, “I am the hope of fallen humanity, because I am the promised, spotless Lamb of God.”
Just as the blood painted on the Israelites’ doors in Egypt meant that the angel of death would pass over those houses, so all who put their trust in the Messiah Jesus are covered by his blood and therefore will not bear the punishment for their own sin. It’s not enough that Jesus was a great teacher. If all he had done were teach truth, but had not shed his blood as the fulfillment of all the truth teaches us about sin and redemption, then we would be damned. If all Jesus had done were perform physical healings, then we would still be the spiritual walking dead. If all he had done were confront the false religion of the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, but had not gone on to be the sacrificial Lamb that true religion requires, then we would be doomed. If all he had done were send his disciples out with a theological message, but had not been the historical, physical covering, by His shed blood, which that theological message requires, then we would be without hope and without God, sinners alone in this fallen world.
But he is the Passover Lamb. He is the fulfillment of the covenant promises of old. His blood covers and cleanses us. All human history marched to this moment in the upper room and the sacrifice of Jesus’s life that would follow.
Whenever I read the account of the incredible moment in that rented room and hear Jesus talk of his blood that was about to be poured out, a hymn always comes to mind. Its words are near and dear to my heart. It was written in 1876 by Robert Lowry, who was a pastor in Philadelphia, the city where I live.
“Nothing but the Blood of Jesus”
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know,
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing, this I see— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Nothing can for sin atone— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of good that I have done— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my hope and peace— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Now by this I’ll overcome— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Now by this I’ll reach my home— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Glory! Glory! This I sing— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
All my praise for this I bring— nothing but the blood of Jesus!
May you attach your sense of self, your meaning and purpose, your moral compass, and your hopes and dreams to the message delivered in that upper room and to the actual moment of sacrifice on that hill outside the city. And may every moment of sin, weakness, and failure be punctuated by you singing to yourself the ultimate answer to the ultimate question, What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Content taken from Journey to the Cross by Paul David Tripp, ©2021. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, crossway.org.
In this forty-day Lenten devotional, best-selling author Paul David Tripp invites us to set aside time from the busyness of our lives to focus on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Each of the short readings encourages us to abide in the abundant joy found in Christ as we encounter the Savior more fully and follow him more faithfully during this Lenten season.