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Jesus told Peter and John to procure a room for the Passover meal. He told them to inquire of a man whom they would find carrying a water jug. I can imagine Peter thinking, Fat chance of that! The men I know wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a water jug. That’s women’s work! Yet, just as Jesus foretold, they found the mysterious man, who gladly loaned them his furnished banquet room. Now, all Peter and John had to do was prepare the Passover meal. The Bible doesn’t give us all the details, but we can visualize the setting. Perhaps it went something like this:

Hearing footsteps on the cobblestones caused Peter and John to peek from the upstairs room where they were putting the finishing touches on the Passover meal. Their companions had arrived and were now ascending the outside stairway leading to the upper banquet room. The silvery-white light of the full moon made the ground look like snow had fallen, but the warmth of the spring evening dispelled the illusion.

Everyone wanted to sit next to Jesus, but John, being quick on his feet, nabbed the right side. Judas slipped into the spot on His left.

The atmosphere must have been tense, and it’s easy to envision the disciples discussing their eager anticipation of Jesus booting out the Romans and establishing His kingdom. As they considered the expected takeover, they were thinking, Who will have the highest position in His new administration? After all, He is our long-awaited Messiah! The scrolls of Isaiah even say the government will be upon His shoulder, and the Messiah will sit on the throne of David to establish judgment and justice. Surely now is the right time.

Then Jesus spoke. A hush fell over the group. “ ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’ ” (Luke 22:15–18).*

Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking? What is He saying? This doesn’t make any sense! Why will He suffer? He is the Messiah! Suffer—that’s preposterous! Why would He not drink of the fruit of the vine? It’s the best drink known to man! We saw His first miracle when He turned the water into wine at that wedding in Cana. It was the best drink of the entire weeklong wedding celebration. He can have fresh grape juice anytime He wants! What does He mean, “Until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God”? Isn’t He going to announce His kingdom now—during Passover? Their thoughts must have tangled into knots trying to make sense of it all.

As Christians today, we know the rest of that Passover story. True, it was like none other, but it was not at all what the disciples expected.

“I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until . . .”

To understand the rest of the story, fast-forward about 2,000 years. Now, in your imagination, transport with me into heavenly realms. Jesus has come back to Earth and has taken His redeemed children home with Him. You and I are at another supper. This supper is not to be “passed over”! Whatever you do, do not miss this supper!

Rather than taking place in an upper room, this supper takes place somewhere up in the cosmos beyond Orion’s belt. Instead of moonlight, we are immersed in light emanating from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This supper does not take place in a man-made banquet room. It takes place in the glorious botanical garden of God, created by the utterance of His word.

Prepared for the celebration party, we are in spotless robes of white that shimmer like mother-of-pearl with an iridescent glow. It feels like we are wearing robes of pure light.

A dazzling crystal table with meticulously arranged place settings stretches across the sea of glass. In our glorified bodies, with new eyes, we can see every detail from one end of the table to the other. Breathless and spellbound, we are seated next to our very own guardian angels.

the scene as I imagine it

Every one of us may envision the experience a little differently. Let me share some of the things I have imagined as I have contemplated these scenes over and over.

As I sit there at the great banquet, trying to absorb the wonder of it all, I think about Jesus walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee while He was on Earth. And here we are, sitting on the water of the sea of glass! But the sea of glass isn’t made of glass. Movements below our feet catch our eyes. Peering down into the water, we view all sorts of vibrant tropical fish sporting the colors of the rainbow. Below the fish, delicately sculpted coral grows, and we get a glimpse of an enormous sea turtle. We could gaze upon this scene forever, but there are so many other things to observe.

Lifting our heads, we look up to Mount Zion. On top of it is a choir of cherubim, accompanied by an ensemble of seraphim. Divine music floats down on us like rain—heavenly melodies we’ve only imagined in our dreams. After a time, the choir stops singing, but the ensemble plays on.

Above us, undulating, surging, swelling lights engage our attention. In an all-encompassing panorama, a natural “fireworks” show has begun. We don’t hear any explosions because this is a galactic light show. The music of the seraphim is perfectly synchronized with the cosmic display. Glowing nebulas billow in the background. High-speed eclipses join with comets and meteor showers. Spiral galaxies whirl to the tempo of the music while solar flares punctuate the heavens. Both bolt and sheet lightning accent the atmosphere. And eruptions of supernovas keep cadence with the musical crescendos.

The refrains of the grand finale are like a supernatural version of Handel’s Messiah. With hearts brimming full of gratitude, we sing, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).

Following the pageant of lights, the seraphim stop playing, and the music shifts to a softer pace. What we now hear is a symphony of bird songs. The voices of canaries, finches, meadowlarks, and canyon wrens harmonize together, accompanied by the warbling of vireos. The gentle cooing of doves combines with the enchanting call of loons. Melodies of song sparrows and nightingales blend in. All the avian tunes merge into a soothing medley, only ebbing when the shama and hermit thrush sing solos.

Even in my most extravagant imaginings, I still know, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). It’s all beyond our wildest dreams.

the long-awaited promise fulfilled

Angels begin filling our crystal cups with sparkling amethyst-colored juice. After everyone has been served, we hear a thundering voice announce, “ ‘The Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [bride] has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. . . .

“ ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” (Revelation 19:6–9).

Jesus stands up, and every eye focuses on Him. With a smile brighter than the sun, He speaks. “I have long awaited this day. I am filled with endless joy to be with you. I made a promise a couple of thousand years ago, and I have kept My promise. The fruit of the vine has not passed My lips.” Jesus lifts His cup and holds it high.

“I, Myself, have prepared the choicest grape juice in all the universe. Now is the time to celebrate My death and resurrection, which enabled each one of you to be here with Me. Now is the time to drink once again of the fruit of the vine! Now is the time for you to be joined to Me for all eternity! Now the kingdom of God has come!”

As tears of happiness flow down His cheeks, Jesus touches the cup to His mouth. He tilts His head back and swallows slowly, savoring the taste after all those years.

Our hearts are overwhelmed with the thought of how delicious this monumental drink must be for Him. We blissfully lift our cups to our mouths and swallow the juice so saturated with meaning—understanding that this is a triple celebration. We are celebrating the long-awaited heavenly Communion service, the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the beginning of the reign of King Jesus.

the heavenly Communion

This Communion celebration is the culmination of all Jesus accomplished through His redemptive mission to Earth. He died so we could live! Communion on Earth was a continual reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and His promise of this heavenly marriage supper to come. Each time we participated in the Communion service on Earth, it was like RSVP’ing with a yes to the grand wedding celebration in heaven. And now, in this celebration, comes the full realization that we will live with Him forever!

The grand finale of the cosmic fireworks pales in comparison with this climax. Filled with sheer elation, we, the redeemed, burst forth in song; “Praise Him, praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song.”

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you are asking yourself, How can I be sure not to miss the biggest and best celebration ever in the entire universe?

In His own words, Jesus provides the answer in John 6:47: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he [or she] who believes in Me has everlasting life.”

Believe in Jesus. Not about Him, but in Him. Trust Him to lead in your life. Why not make a vow today, and every day, to spend time getting to know Jesus better? You will be glad you did!  

Nancy Meyer Schafner is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Signs of the Times®.

* Unless otherwise noted, Bible verses in this article are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible. Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version.

Celebrating With Jesus

by Nancy Meyer Schafner
From the April 2023 Signs