Come To The Table
Yesterday we had Communion at church. I was reminded of the devotional I gave in the Holy Land as we took the route that Jesus took to His crucifixion known as Via Dolorosa. This translates to the Way of Grief, Painful Way, Way of Suffering and Way of Grief.
"Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." When the hour came, Jesus and his disciples reclined at the table...He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.f" In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, "this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
Most importantly, it was the opportunity for Jesus to establish a new meal through which his followers could remember him in the coming years. Taking the bread and wine, Jesus dramatically changed the expected Passover words. Jesus said his followers were now to see the bread and wine as his own body and blood. It had to be shocking and horrific. They had been trained never to drink the blood of any animal, let alone a fellow human being. But Jesus required them all to eat and drink these strange gifts with a whole new meaning.
Jesus was telling them that his death was imminent and unavoidable, and that it was for their benefit: it would seal a new "covenant", between God and his people. This would secure the "forgiveness" of sins. He was insisting that his followers in the future should focus on his death as his greatest achievement. In this bread and wine he was pledging something of himself to them for the future - that he would always be with them and that his Spirit would live in them.
Think of all that the disciples would have missed if they had not been obedient. And when Peter and John were sent to make preparations for the passover meal wonder if that was just like doing a chore? Making supper plans. How mundane. We do it every night. They were obedient and they got to be at the most celebrated "supper" in all the world for thousands of years. Would I still be at home because I did not want to leave my family, friends, home and job and missed it all?