How much preparation would you put into hosting a dinner party at your house?
How much preparation do I put in to preparing to meet with Jesus?
Jesus Eats with His Disciples
12It was the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, and the Passover lambs were being killed. Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?” 13Jesus said to two of the disciples, “Go into the city, where you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him, 14and when he goes into a house, say to the owner, `Our teacher wants to know if you have a room where he can eat the Passover meal with his disciples.’ 15The owner will take you upstairs and show you a large room furnished and ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there.”
16The two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover meal.
17-18While Jesus and the twelve disciples were eating together that evening, he said, “The one who will betray me is now eating with me.”
19This made the disciples sad, and one after another they said to Jesus, “You surely don’t mean me!”
20He answered, “It is one of you twelve men who is eating from this dish with me. 21The Son of Man will die, just as the Scriptures say. But it is going to be terrible for the one who betrays me. That man would be better off if he had never been born.”
The Lord’s Supper
22During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this. It is my body.”
23Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He gave it to his disciples, and they all drank some. 24Then he said, “This is my blood, which is poured out for many people, and with it God makes his agreement. 25From now on I will not drink any wine, until I drink new wine in God’s kingdom.” 26Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
We thought it was just going to be your average Passover meal, us and Jesus, celebrating together. Two had gone on ahead to prepare, to get everything ready.
So there we all were, gathered around the table, and suddenly Jesus says,
One of you is going to betray me.
Going to betray him? Be unfaithful? To deliver him to the enemy?
Well that caused some soul-searching. Could it be me? Would I do that to Jesus? After all we’d been through. could I still turn my back on God’s new way? Made me think…
And then he did something that seemed really strange at the time – though of course it makes sense now. He took the bread, just our normal Passover bread, nothing special; and he prayed over it. Then he broke some off and said,
Take it, this is my body.
What did he mean? How could bread be his body? As I think about it now, I think that bread is a very staple in life. It gives strength and sustenance. It enables us to live. Jesus does that too. His life in us gives us strength. It helps us to play our part in the new thing God is doing. It feeds us for our journey, gives us the sustenance we need to go with him.
And he hadn’t finished. Then he took the cup of wine, prayed over that, and said,
This is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many.
And continued saying he wouldn’t be drinking it again.
God had made a covenant with his people, a special promise that we are his. Now that covenant is going to be sealed once and for all.
These are things we will be able to do to remember him. Things to comfort us; things to help us draw near to him in the times we are missing him; things that will be our strength. When I remember drinking that wine, I think of how it warms as it slides down my throat. You can physically feel it. And I remember Jesus.
In all this, Jesus was asking us to remember him. To remember what he showed us. To remember God in the way he brought him to us. To remember God’s new way – and to live it.
I remember you.
May my remembrance be
not just a fond recollection;
but a compulsion to do something;
to be strengthened by you,
to live in your ways
This year, I am again following the BigRead using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark. I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.