6.7.12 - The last grace meal—with faithful and faithless
Daily Scripture: Luke 22:14-21
14 When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. 15 He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I won't eat it until it is fulfilled in God's kingdom." 17 After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I won't drink from the fruit of the vine until God's kingdom has come." 19 After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, "This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.
21 "But look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table.
The Passover Seder was Israel's way to remember God's dramatic act in saving them from slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12:14, 17). Jesus ate this memorial supper with his disciples—and, saying "Do this in remembrance of me," he transformed it to focus on his redemptive self-giving on the cross. He also extended his grace-giving table practice to this meal, including Judas (who'd already set his plan to betray Jesus in motion) in the group with whom he ate.
- Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, "When Jesus wanted to give his followers—then and now—a way of understanding what was about to happen to him, he didn't teach them a theory....He gave them a meal to share. It is a meal that speaks more volumes than any theory....They must 'eat his body' and 'drink his blood,' finding their life through his death." In what sense are you "eating" Christ's body and "drinking" Christ's blood, opening yourself to let Jesus nourish you spiritually, as food nourishes you physically?
- After this supper, most of the disciples ran away in fear. Peter, trying to be brave, ended up denying Jesus three times (see Luke 22:34). Judas, of course, led Jesus enemies to him. In which category—faithful or faithless—are you more likely to think of yourself? Could it be that those two categories are not as far apart in Jesus' eyes as we sometimes think they are?
Lord Jesus, when I take part in the Lord's Supper, I bring all of me—the light and the dark. Thank you that the Supper is not about how worthy I am, but about how gracious you are. Amen.