by Dr. Linda Brupbacher
Matthew 26: 17-30
People gathering to eat and talk is common here at HBU. It was common during Jesus’ ministry too.
Sharing meals was a regular part of Jesus’ ministry. Scripture contains many stories about Jesus eating with His disciples and with sinners, teaching at meals, and teaching through parables that centered on meals/banquets. Thus it seems only fitting that on the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus shared a meal, the Passover meal, with His disciples.
The first Passover involved Jewish slaves in Egypt killing a lamb, smearing its blood over their doors to prevent the deaths of their firstborn children, and then eating the lamb as part of their last supper in Egypt. Much as Jesus does for us, the sacrificed lamb provided both protection from death and sustenance for their upcoming journey. Much as the Lord’s Supper does for us, their annual ceremonial reenactment of that last supper in Egypt provided a tangible way to trigger memories of what God had done for them in the past and to help them recognize His continuing power and presence in their lives. Like the Lord’s Supper, their Passover meal included bread and wine as symbols of what God had done and continued to do for them.
It’s unlikely that the disciples truly understood His words declaring the bread and wine to be His body and blood. We know what happened on Good Friday and on Easter so we do understand His words. For us, the bread and wine (grape juice) symbolize his sacrifice. At each Lord’s Supper, we reenact that Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples. It is a time to remember and appreciate Christ’s sacrifice – and to rededicate ourselves and our lives to His service.
Unlike the disciples, we know the whole story. Help us to appreciate the gift of eternal life that comes through Christ’s body and blood. Help us re-dedicate ourselves and our lives to You–today and each time we participate in the Lord’s Supper. Amen
Excerpted from a Holy Week Devotional Guide written for South Main Baptist Church in 2011