By Hoyt H. Houchen
Question: What is “that day” Jesus refers to in Matthew 26.29 when He instituted the Lord’s Supper? Was He specifically referring to communion with His disciples on Pentecost and thereby authorizing the Lord’s Supper to be taken on the first day of the week?
Reply: At the conclusion of the supper which Jesus instituted, He said to His disciples: “But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29).
The expression “fruit of the vine” is not restricted, but rather it refers to the whole supper. This is a figure of speech known as synecdoche, by which a part is used for the whole.
As to what “that day” refers to (Matt. 26:29), is the period of the kingdom – from Pentecost until the second coming of Christ. There is no record of Jesus eating the Lord’s Supper with His disciples before His ascension. While it is true that the word “day” may refer to a specific day of twenty-four hours (such as the days of creation, Gen. 1) and the Sabbath day (the seventh day of the week, Ex. 20:8-11), the word “day” may also refer to a general period of time (see Acts 8: 1, etc.). Since Jesus identifies “the day” as the time that He would eat the Lord’s Supper with His disciples in the kingdom, it is indicated that Jesus would eat the Lord’s Supper with His disciples during the period of the kingdom. The kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost, the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The kingdom had been promised by Jesus (Mk. 9:1). It was to come with power and the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). The power and the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14), so that is when the kingdom had its beginning. Jesus is now reigning in His kingdom (1 Cor. 15:25,26), at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 2:33; Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2) upon the spiritual throne of David (Acts 2:30-33). So, Jesus eats the Lord’s Supper with His people upon every first day of the week (Acts 20:7) during the present period of the kingdom. This period which began on Pentecost will continue until Jesus returns the kingdom to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24).
Because Jesus eats with Christians when they partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, it is referred to in the Scriptures as a “communion” (Gr.. koinonie), a joint-participation (1 Cor. 10:16,17). It is well said that: “The table of the Lord is the Lord’s Supper at which the Lord presides and at which his people are his guests” (Commentary on First Corinthians, Lipscomb and Shepherd, p. 157). Also, it is a “communion” because the Lord’s Supper is shared by all Christians. This participation announces our belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which also proclaims His death until He comes again (1 Cor. 11:26).
What a significant feast the Lord’s Supper is – a communion in which Christians share with Christ in His kingdom (Matt. 26:29) upon every first day of the week (Acts 20:7)!
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 3, p. 69
February 5, 1987